Etsy finds: Mystical Arts Boutique

I love finding new sellers and artists on Etsy, and haven't shared any Etsy finds in a while. I found Mystical Arts Boutique through Instagram. Illustrator Ashleigh's creations are creepy but cute and all about witchy and fairytale vibes. Her store has all sorts of lovely things including pins, stickers, bookmarks and prints.

I bought a lucky dip bag a while back and thought Halloween was the perfect time to share the treats I got. I got some spooky prints including a cute ghost and witchy girl, an autumnal illustrated postcard, some stickers, a lovely witch craft colouring zine and my favourite out of everything the mystical creature print.

Everything was presented so nicely and the prints and postcards are printed on really lovely thick quality card. I highly recommend checking out the store- links below.

Shell's guide to... Batwoman

The next installment of my guides to. Previously: Catwoman, BatgirlBlack Canary and Wonder Woman.

1. Batwoman started life as Kathy Kane and first appeared in Detective Comics issue 233 in 1956, and was one of a group of characters that made up the 'Batman Family'.

2. The writers chose to make a female bat crime fighter to quash rumours that Batman and Robin were a couple and so gave Batman a love interest! It was the fifties and her utility belt was a little different to Batmans... it contained a compact, lipstick, a charm bracelet and hair net. Although don't worry, they were actually weapons in disguise! 

3. Like Batman, Batwoman had a sidekick. Batwoman and Bat-Girl weren't the badass crimefighters we know today though. They were mainly love interests for Bats and Robin, and needed saving.... a lot!

4. During the early 60s Batwoman was a regular in the pages of both Batman and Detective Comics.

5. In 1964 the Batman universe underwent a big revamp and Batwoman was replaced by a new and improved Batgirl a.k.a Barbara Gordon. (See my guide here) Batgirl wasn't a love interest to Batman, she was an equal, and so Batwoman was retired as she was too old fashioned a character.

6. Fans missed Batwoman though, so she was brought back briefly in 1979 in which she comes out of retirement to help Batgirl defeat Killer Moth in Batman Family #10. Later that year she was killed off, with editor Dennis O'Neil saying "we already had Batgirl, we don't need Batwoman". Wrong, Dennis.

7. It was all the way in 2006 when we next saw Batwoman again. The whole of the DC Universe was being reset with the New 52 and a new Batwoman was designed and introduced. This time she is Kate Kane.

8. Kate was top of the class at military school, until they found out she was gay. She is asked to dispel this rumour and confirms she is a lesbian and is then forced to leave the school. Back in Gotham she nearly gets mugged one night, but uses her training to defend herself. Batman arrives to help (too late, she sorted it) and she becomes fixated with what he does.

9. She begins training, and her father gives her a batsuit and special weaponry. Kane is heiress to one of the wealthiest families in Gotham. She is a socialite in her civilian identity and an acquaintance of Bruce Wayne.

10. It is around this time she also meets Gotham cop Renee Montoya, with whom she begins a partnership and romantic relationship with.

11. Kate has tattoos and favours a punk rockabilly style. She is Jewish and has a twin sister. She also happens to be DC's highest profile gay superhero.

12. In 2010 Batwoman got her own comic series, where her family and background were further explored. Issue 17 was a milestone issue: Kate proposes to her girlfriend detective Maggie Sawyer. DC announced that Batwoman could not get married because "heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives". The writers stepped down. Still, the series went on until issue 40.

13. In 2016 DC comics rebooted again with Rebirth and Batwoman was one of the lead series, as well as Batwoman being a main character in a rebooted Dectective comics series. 

14. Batwoman is known for her iconic black and red suit and flowing red hair (a wig to disguise her identity). She is intelligent, has good detective skills and is a trained martial artist. She is also a respected leader, and an equal of Batman.

Now you know about Batwoman here's some recommended reading...

1. Batwoman: Elegy (here): This is a good starting place as it introduces the modern Kate Kane.

2. Batwoman Vol.1 Hydrology (here) This is the next book and also the start of the New 52 reboot. There are 6 volumes of this run in total.

3. Batwoman Rebirth Vol.1 (here) This is the first volume in the current Batwoman run and works as starting point too.There are currently 3 volumes in this series.


1. DC Bombshells Vol.1 (here) this is a fun series featuring the women of DC fighting the resistance of WW2 and Batwoman is a prominent character. The artwork is beautiful. There are 6 volumes altogether as well as a current series call Bombshells United.

2. Dectective Comics Vol.1 Rebirth (here): Batwoman is a prominent character in Detective Comics and none more so than the current Rebirth run. Here the opening volume focuses on the Bat family as a team. Volume 6 (here) is a Batwoman centric arc that's worth a read.

3. Batman Incorporated (here): A story from the New 52 era, that sees Batman team up with Catwoman and Batwoman.

So that was my guide to Batwoman -hope you enjoyed it! Next time: Huntress...

New books.

The serial book buyer is back! Here is a round up of my recent book purchases...

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner
Cameron's cosplay is finally starting to earn her attention. But when she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans.

When Cameron's family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse. Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town--her main destination for character reference--is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop. 

At her twin brother's suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she's shocked at how easily she's accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her bro Cooper, dragged along for good measure. But as her "secret identity" gets more and more entrenched, Cameron's portfolio falls by the wayside--and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious.

Plus+ by Bethany Rutter

Style inspiration for everyone, no matter your size.
Be inspired by 100 of the very best plus-size street style images from around the world.

If You Go Down To The Woods by Seth C. Adams
We were so young when it all happened. Just 13-years-old, making the most of the long, hot, lazy days of summer, thinking we had the world at our feet. That was us – me, Fat Bobby, Jim and Tara – the four members of the Outsiders’ Club.

The day we found a burnt-out car in the woods was the day everything changed. Cold, hard cash in the front seat, and a body in the trunk… it started out as a mystery we were desperate to solve.

Then, the Collector arrived. He knew we had found his secret. And suddenly, our summer of innocence turned into the stuff of nightmares.

Nothing would ever be the same again…

Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies compiled by Scarlett Curtis
An urgent and inspirational collection of essays by a diverse group of celebrities, activists, and artists about what feminism means to them, with the goal of helping readers come to their own personal understanding of the word.

Feminism has never been more deeply and widely embraced and discussed, but what exactly does the F word mean? 

Here, personal stories from actors, writers, and activists explore the contradictions and complications at the heart of the movement. By bridging the gap between feminist hashtags and scholarly texts, these essays bring feminism into clear focus.

What Girls are Made of by Elana K. Arnold
This is not a story of sugar and spice and everything nice.

When Nina Faye was fourteen, her mother told her there was no such thing as unconditional love. Nina believed her. Now Nina is sixteen. And she'll do anything for the boy she loves, just to prove she's worthy of him. But when he breaks up with her, Nina is lost. What if she is not a girlfriend? What is she made of?

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
The night Cameron Post's parents died, her first emotion was relief. Relief they would never know that, hours earlier, she'd been kissing a girl.

Now living with her conservative aunt in small-town Montana, hiding her sexuality and blending in and becomes second nature to Cameron until she begins an intense friendship with the beautiful Coley Taylor. Desperate to 'correct' her niece, Cameron's aunt takes drastic action.Now Cameron must battle with the cost of being her true self - even if she's not completely sure who that is.

Wilful Disregard by Lena Anderson
Ester Nilsson is a sensible person in a sensible relationship.
Until the day she is asked to give a lecture on famous artist Hugo Rask. The man himself sits in the audience, spellbound, and, when the two meet afterwards, he has the same effect on her. From now on Ester's existence is intrinsically linked to this conversation, and the chain of events that unravels will change Ester's life.

Wilful Disregard is a kind of dark love story, it is a story of total and desperate devotion and about how willingly we betray ourselves in our longing to be loved.

Craving by Esther Gerritsen
The relationship between Coco and her mother Elisabeth is uneasy, to say the least. Running into each other by chance, Elisabeth casually tells Coco that she is terminally ill. When Coco moves in with her mother in order to take care of her, aspects of their troubled relationship come to the fore once again. Elisabeth tried her best to conform to the image of a caring mother, but struggles to deal with Coco's erratic behaviour and unpredictable moods.

and finally some more Point Horror books to add to my little collection! 

Self care Sunday: Inspire and Empower.

Today's self care post is all about empowerment!

1. Make a playlist of badass songs to play (mine is above)
2. Look up interviews of people that inspire you 
3. Read Yes Please by Amy Poehler for an uplifting confidence boost
4. Watch some empowering films (my faves: Wonder Woman, Mad Max: Fury Road, Little Voice, Pride, Tully...)
5. Write down a list of things you are proud of
6. Put together an outfit that makes you feel fearless and powerful when you wear it 
7. Do an online course, or go to classes and learn something new
8. Write a list of things that scare you, and some achievable challenges you could work on completing
9. Find a new creative hobby you enjoy
10. Write a letter to someone who inspires you and explain why they do (it could be someone you know, or someone you don't!)
11. Remind yourself that you are strong, and you can get through it
12. And if you don't feel like you can get through it, reach out to someone- because that is a sign of strength. You can recognise when you need help, and we all need help sometimes- so feel proud. 

I hope you found these ideas useful!

Previously in my self care series: tastessmellssoundssights.

My Etsy shop: Self Care Stop

On My Shelf: 5 star predictions

Today I have raided my to-be-read shelves and picked out six books that I predict will be five star reads for me...

1. My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
I gave Grady Hendrix's previous book Horrorstor 5 stars and have a feeling I will love this book just as much. Hendrix is brilliant at writing over the top, fun horror, and this one is set in the 80s and about two best friends- one of them finds out the other has been possessed by a demon!  

2. The Power by Naomi Alderman
A dystopian novel in which teenage girls all of a sudden have the power to cause immense pain from their finger tips. Dystopian: tick, feminism: tick. This one really appeals to me and it also won the Bailey's Woman's Fiction prize.

3. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
I bought this YA as soon as I heard about it. Firstly I love the cover but also it's about a girl fed up with her high school and it's sexist rules. Her Mum was a 90's riot grrrl, and so inspired she begins to create a feminist zine and starts a revolution. Doesn't this just sound brilliant?! 

4. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
I've mentioned before how much I love Carrie Fisher, she was a bloody amazing woman. This is her diary written during the filming of the first Star Wars film, and if it's anything like her other other books this will be warm, funny and honest.

5. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
I can't really explain it but I feel like I will love Shirley Jackson despite having never actually read any of her books. I have accumulated quite a few of them now and feel like I really need to read them soon! This is a gothic horror set in a big house in a small village and sounds like the perfect October read.

6. Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips
This short story collection has been sat on my shelf for far too long. I was initially interested in this when I heard it described as Black Mirror-esque- strange, unsettling, futuristic stories including one where a persons city is filled with doppelgangers of them!

So those are the six books I predict will be five star reads!