Exciting News

Hello! Hello!

I haven’t blogged in what feels like a decade. I guess you could say that I went on a mini-hiatus. I ran out of motivation, inspiration and time to work on my blog- it even came to the point where blogging became a chore and to me, I felt like I had crossed a line. I’ve been blogging for almost two years and the last thing I wanted was for blogging to become a chore I dreaded.

That’s how I realised something needed to change, I needed to do something that would make me happier and more motivated, which leads me to my news. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you may have noticed little changes here and there. I’ve changed my username, my blog URL and the content I post. Ever since mid-last year,  I realised my blog’s topic was restricting. I felt obliged to only post book-related content, nothing about myself, my life or my personal hobbies and I wanted more than anything to change my blog’s name and content into something more person and lifestyle-related.

I spent month after month contemplating whether or not to change my blog into a lifestyle blog. One day, my friend and I were talking about my blog and she told me something along the lines of, “Change nothing and nothing changes.” That’s when all my worries cleared out of my head. I spent so long worrying about whether or not people would be interested in my lifestyle content that I was too scared of change. That night, I did it, without my doubtful thoughts, and changed my username. I posted a long caption, telling everybody of the change that was going to happen: I was going to change my blog and Instagram into something more personal. Two weeks later and here I am telling you of this mini-project of changing my blog and I couldn’t be any more proud and happier.

I did it! I changed my blog and my Instagram to By Alicia Grace. I changed my blog’s theme completely, I changed all more social media accounts, I changed my pages, my Instagram username, my Instagram photo content and much more. I’ve worked pretty hard to change my blog into something that I’m more proud of and soon I’ll be sharing more exciting content. Don’t think that I’m just going to be sharing just lifestyle, travel and fashion posts because books still hold a dear place in my heart and they’ll still be more book posts. I’ve also gotten some new collaborations with brands that I can’t wait to share with you guys!Now I’m back more motivated than ever to share with you, my passion not just for books but for anything else I am passionate about. I can share with you, my love for fashion and travel and any other precious moments that happen in my life.

Now I’m back more motivated than ever to share with you, my passion not just for books but for anything else I am passionate about. I can’t wait to share with you, my love for fashion and travel and any other precious moments that happen in my life. That’s my exciting news! I’ve been loving all of your support on Instagram and I couldn’t be any more grateful for all of you!

Here’s to new beginnings! xx

Alicia Grace

A “FREEK”ishly Good Book: Freeks Book Review & Blog Tour

Title: Freeks
Author: Amanda Hocking
Release Date: February 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Overall Rating:  7.5/10
Genre: Romance, Adventure, Fantasy, Supernatural

“Despite all that, I couldn’t shake the chill inside my chest, like my heart had been incased in ice”
– Freeks ARC, Amanda Hocking

I haven’t read an Amanda Hocking novel in ages and this book definitely did not disappoint. Before I read this book, I judged a book by its cover and frankly, I was unsure about the novel. The cover doesn’t do it justice and nor those the little blurb on the back of the book. However, diving into the world of Mara and Gideon was definitely thrilling and is one of the best books I’ve read in a while.

The storyline was the perfect recipe of romance and adventure. It had the perfect balance of both. Since the beginning, I was already shipping both Gabe and Mara. Their relationship wasn’t too rushed, I loved the development and chemistry between the two. Their romance tugged at my heart and Gabe was definitely the cutest. The main characters both Mara and Gabe were also developed really well. Both had their issues and struggles which they somewhat managed to overcome. I loved following Mara’s story. Finding out about her history and the spiritual ancestry was something I do not read about often. I really enjoyed reading about who she was and I definitely found myself relating to this teenage girl. In addition, Gabe was your cliche mysteriously boy from town but did I mention, I love a good cliche. Gabe was definitely lovable, he had the perfect vibe and was the perfect boyfriend. What wasn’t there to love? I knew he was somehow linked to do with the murders in the carnival but I did not see the whole werewolf thing coming.

I was constantly turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. I wanted to know where Blossom went. I wanted to know who was behind the murders on the campsite and I wanted to know Gabe’s secret. I love books that just leave you on the edge with every chapter and Freeks definitely does that. When a chapter ends, it ends on a cliffhanger that makes you want to keep reading.

However, Freeks isn’t some AMAZING novel. Don’t get me wrong it’s a really good read but the story isn’t one that stands out of the crowd. There is nothing major to fangirl about and at times I did find myself confused with the many characters in the book. I think that because there were so many characters, I found it hard to recognize who was who. That’s why I didn’t give it a high 8 or a 9 but it is still a really enjoyable read that you should definitely read when given the chance.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed myself whilst reading the book and I read it within three days, which highlights the fact that I loved it. I love Gabe and following the thrilling plotline definitely left me page turning for more!

book + song:

if you liked these books, you’ll love freeks:

 

Book Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

 

Title: We Come Apart
Author (s): Sarah Crossan and Brain Conaghan
Release Date: February 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Overall Rating:  5/10
Genre: Coming of age, Romance, Contemporary, Poetry

“And my eyes don’t close for sleeping,
and it raining in my stomach,
and it storming in my heart,”
– We Come Apart ARC

It’s been quite a while since I last posted a review, with We Come Apart’s release coming up this week, I thought what a perfect time to write a review. I have a love/hate relationship with this book because there are some points that I hated and some things that I loved in this book but this book just wasn’t for me. Before reading this book, I had high expectations as I love poetry books and I really enjoyed Sarah Crossan’s other novel, One. However, I was disappointed and it didn’t quite match what I had imagined.

I loved the concept and themes that they explored in the novel, a refugee and a girl falling in love despite what the people around them thought. Especially with what’s happening with the world around us, this novel was highly relevant. Unfortunately, it wasn’t executed as well as I thought. There wasn’t really any relationship development and I didn’t quite feel the connection between the two characters. I thought that the characters fell in love for the sake of proving a point. There wasn’t really any depth to the relationship. I could definitely feel how Nicu fell in love with Jess but to me, it felt like puppy love.

In addition, I found the writing hard to read. I understand that the writing was trying to reflect the two main characters- Nicu and Jess but at times I couldn’t quite understand or follow what was going on.  Although the two characters had two completely different voices, at times I was confused as to whose perspective I was reading from.

Maybe it was because I found it a bit difficult to relate to the characters but this wasn’t my most favorite read. Don’t get me wrong, I still really enjoyed reading about the characters but there were just a few flaws to the book that let it down. However, when you do have the chance definitely check the novel out!

Have you read We Come Apart before?

book and song:

if you liked these books you’ll love we come apart:

A January Favourite: Royal Essence Bath Bombs and Candles

Hello!!

I don’t know about you but one of my favorite things to do is sitting in a nice warm bath reading a good book. I also really enjoy having a nice novel in my lap whilst a deliciously smelling candle flickering beside me. I recently received two things from Royal Essence: a white chocolate ring candle and an oatmeal, milk, and honey bath bomb. I fell in love with these items- no joke. What I love about Royal Essence, is not only are they made of soy and smell amazing, in every bath bomb and candle there is a secret ring that can range between $20-$2000, hidden inside. Royal Essence really does put a spin on what is normally such a typical product, which is why I loved their products so much. Not only that but all of the products I was given were really high quality and the packaging and the item itself are designed beautifully.

the candle: white chocolate

The candle smelt heavenly! I only enjoy sweet smelling candles and this one was the perfect fit. I distaste the smell of floral and citrus candles but the white chocolate candle smelt amazing. The candle comes in a glass jar, each candle is environmentally friendly and can last for almost three to four times. The candles are the featured product of Royal Essence. If you want to get my candle click the photo up there! Here is a little video of the candle and me struggling to get the ring out from under the wax:

the bath bomb: oatmeal, milk, and honey

The bath bombs from Royal Essence are honestly underhyped! I loved the oatmeal, milk, and honey bath bomb. It smelt amazing and it also definitely moisturized and smoothed my skin. I had such a relaxing bath and if I were to try more I would definitely try the bubblegum one. In all honestly, I wish I chose are more exciting bath bomb because my one created a creamy white bath rather than an explosive colorful one but I still loved using the bomb and patiently (I wasn’t very patient 🙂 ) waiting for the ring to be unveiled.

the rings: my favorite part

Like I mentioned earlier, my favorite feature about these products were the secret rings hidden inside of them. Whilst I used these products, I couldn’t stop the nagging questions in my head- “What ring was I going to get? I hope I get a good ring!” When I finally got the rings, I couldn’t be more pleased. Although they didn’t quite fit my fingers the rings were gorgeous! I loved how simple the rings are yet elegant. To get the rrp of the rings you have to send them a photo through Facebook and I did just that to get the details of my rings. From the candle (featured on the right), I received an 18K white gold plated ring with Swiss crystals which is retailed at $50. From the bath bomb (featured on the left), I received an 18K white gold plated ring with a sapphire that is also retailed at $50!

Overall, I really loved using the candle and bath bomb. I’m saying this with all honesty I love the products of Royal Essence, they would make really good presents and are just a great treat yourself gift. Here is a link to their store! Thank you so much to Royal Essence for working with me. Do you like using bath bombs and candles? What are some of your favourite scents?

Thanks!

Alicia

A Guide To Alicia’s Perfect Night In

As a bibliophile/book worm/book lover, I know that one of my favorite things to do is having the perfect night in. Although these nights may be hard to come by, every once in a while I’ll find myself with the perfect amount of time to have the best night in. I was asked by Leesa Mattresses, a mattress company, to describe my perfect night in and I thought that it would a great idea for a blog post! Here is a little step by step guide to my perfect night in!

step 1) the music

It all begins by hitting the play button on a playlist or song I love. As cliche as it sounds, music really does change the atmosphere. Paying my favourite songs on a night in is a must. I honestly wouldn’t know what I would do without music. At the moment I have been obsessed with Ed Sheeran’s new song Shape of You.

step 2) scrolling through we heart it

Once I’m perfectly tucked under my covers, lying on my front with my laptop placed right in front of me and my headphones on, I’ll type in we heart it into my address bar and start scrolling through countless aesthetic photos. We Heart It is like a stress reliever and I love being able to feel inspired just by looking at a bunch of photos. I guess what they say is true: a picture tells a thousand words.

step 3) cuddling up with a good book

Once I feel the need to read a book, I’ll turn off all the electronics for the night and prop up the pillows to create the perfect reading nook. At the moment I’m in the mood for a good contemporary and so I really want to start reading the Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson which has been on my TBR for ages. I’ll grab a good book, flip open the crisp clean pages and begin to dive into a new world. I try to tell myself to read at least 100 pages and I’ll usually end up losing track of time and reading way more than 100 pages.

step 4) bullet journaling

I really like taking the time just before I head to sleep to plan and organize what I’m going to do the next day. I’ll plan my meals, create to-do lists, shopping lists and homework plans for the next day just before I go to sleep so I’m all ready and set to go for the next day. If I have time I might doodle a bit in my journal and tidy it up a bit.

step 5) lights out

Everybody need beauty sleep, including me and every perfect night in will include sleeping. So the last and final step to my perfect night in will be sleeping peacefully knowing that I had the best night in! 🙂

That’s all for my guide to my perfect night in! Everybody has a different perfect night in routine so I challenge all of you to create a blog post and come up with your own guide to your own perfect night in! Don’t forget to tag me in your posts if you do! I would love to see what you guys come up with! Thank you so much to Leesa Mattresses for reaching out to me, if you guys are interested you are interested in some mattress options check some out here!

Bye!!

Alicia

Taking On The New Year- 2017

2017

Hello!

I know this post is long overdue but I still wanted to write about the new year of 2017! You know that feeling you get when its the new year but you still don’t feel put together- that’s kind of how I feel at the moment. Hopefully, this post will let me clear things up and allow me to start afresh.

2016: a  reflection

When 2016 was beginning to draw to an end I felt slightly disappointed. In terms of world events, I was not too happy about the events that went down last year. However, in terms of my own personal achievements and life, I’m pretty content with where I am. 2016 was the year I began my Bookstagram (20th of January to be exact) and in less than a year I already have more than 4.2K followers which I am so happy with! Thank you to everyone who has supported and followed me because I would never have imagined surpassing 1000 yet alone 4000! In addition, 2016 was the year I completely changed my blog and I have gotten so much positive feedback from you guys and I feel like my blog has grown so much this year!

2017 goals:

There are so many things I want to achieve this year! Often my mind wanders and I end up setting unrealistic goals but this year I’m trying to avoid that. Here are some of the goals I want to achieve this year:

♡ Create and use a 2017 bullet journal
♡ Stop rushing things and take the time to step back and enjoy the moment
♡ Create timeless memories
♡ Branch out to other topics with my blog
♡ Organise school books and notes
♡ Meet new people and get closer to them
♡ Take the time to do the things you love
♡ Read at least 50 books
♡ Love everyone with all of your heart
♡ Take more photos

2017: Exciting Releases

There are so many exciting book releases this year that I can’t wait to get my hands on! Here are three of my most anticipated releases:

Hopefully, 2017 will be filled with happiness and excitement! I’m wishing you all a happy 2017! I just came back from a trip and (fingers crossed) I’ll be able to get my travel diary up soon! Thank you all for the amazing support I’ve received in 2016- it means the world to me!

Lots of love,
Alicia

 

Book Review: Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

Title: The Edge of Everything
Author: Jeff Giles
Release Date: February 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Overall Rating:  7/10
Genre: Adventure, Thriller, Action, Romance

“The pain between his eyes was excruciating now.
It was time. ”
– Jeff Giles, The Edge of Everything ARC pg 78

Jeff Giles’ Edge of Everything was quite out of this world (get it because like the story is set outside of this world ahahah 🙂 ). I had no clue what to expect when I dived into this novel. I went in there completely blind and the story I discovered wasn’t quite what I expected but that didn’t mean it wasn’t good. I actually found myself enjoying this novel. It was a fresh and unique storyline and I found myself hooked to the storyline.

I love how Giles takes the cliche alien love story and makes it into something thats more gripping and more heart felt. I definitely felt a few gut and heart wrenches throughout the story. Especially, when *SPOILER ALERT* X leaves and she sees her father again. I also really enjoyed how there are so many different facets to the storyline and therefore, I was always questioning what would happen next. Jeff Giles’ writing is very real he doesn’t sugar coat things but the way he describes situations and characters painted a vivid picture into the minds of the readers.

However, I have to admit the world building wasn’t a highlight in this novel. I don’t know if it was just me but I found it quite difficult to understand the Lowlands concept. I understood that X had to take souls for him to be free but I still didn’t quite follow the other world. I was confused in many parts of the novel and I think it would have been much easier to understand the concepts if there was a bit more world building. I also didn’t quite enjoy the dual perspectives. I understand why it is necessary to have the two perspectives but I found it boring to read from Xs perspective because he lacked some personality.

In addition, the development of Zoe and X’s relationship was pretty poor. They fell in love in an instant and I didn’t really see the buildup or chemistry between the two at all. I found it difficult to connect to their relationship and in fact, I thought Zoe should have ended up with Dallas because I could definitely see the chemistry between the two. In hindsight, the storyline made this book really enjoyable and I actually found it easy to get deep into the novel.

song + book

if you liked these books, you’ll like jeff giles’ edge of everything

That’s all for this review! Have you read The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles? What was your latest read? I’m just about to fly out for a holiday, so hopefully I can get some posts up in the next few weeks!

#loveboosk

Book Review: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

 

Title: Stealing Snow
Author: Danielle Paige
Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Overall Rating:  8/10
Genre: Adventure, Thriller, Action, Fantasy, Romance

After seeing Stealing Snow plastered on Instagram pages and after letting the novel sit on my bookshelf for what seems like ages, I decided to give the novel a go. I hadn’t read any reviews on the book before hand and the moment I opened the book, I knew I would highly enjoy this novel. Despite the raging negative reviews, I’m going to keep to my opinion and say I LOVED THIS BOOK. It’s hard to find a good fantasy romance these days and this novel definitely satisfied my craving for one.

Stealing Snow starts off with a scene that left me questioning the main character- Snow. I wanted to know who she is, I wanted to know who Bale is and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. When I discovered that she was in a mental facility I was expecting Paige to pull a Vanishing Girls move on the novel in which the Snow Kingdom was all part of her imagination but I was proven wrong. I think a big part of why people didn’t like the novel was because of the similarities between Stealing Snow and Frozen but, to be honest, I thought this novel was better. I love how Paige takes this idea of a snow kingdom and snow powers and warps it into something that is more suited to a teenage audience. I found myself falling in love with the story line.

At times, Snow did get on my nerves but I enjoyed watching her grow as a person. I loved seeing how she dealt with being in a mental facility and how she was dealing with the information about her family. Some of her reckless decisions did cause me to cringe but there was something about her character I really enjoyed reading about. I think part of it was my interest in her history. The plot twists really hit me, I was definitely not expecting some of them. *SPOILER ALERT* Her secret twin sister and her backstabbing mother, are just two of the many examples of the plot twists that rocked me over the edge.

There was definitely one thing that was a flaw in this novel- the love square. NEVER in my life had I ever read a story in which the character had not one, not two but THREE love interests. In my opinion, I thought it was a little unbelievable and overwhelming. Whilst she was saving her poor, beloved Bale, she was kissing Kai and the chemistry between her and Jagger was insane. I didn’t really like this component to the story because it made the book seem less real and three-dimensional which was a shame. Hopefully, this clears up in the later books but just to clarify I’m leaning towards #TEAMKAI!

Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel and if you are craving a good fantasy definitely check this out. I have never read a book quite like this and I loved the mashup of the mental facility and the fantasy world. I have so many unanswered questions about the characters and story swimming around in my head. I can not wait to read the next book in the series.

song + book:

if you liked these books you’ll like danielle paige’s stealing snow

That’s all for my review of Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige. Thank you so much to Bloomsbury for sending this to me but please note that this does not alter or change my opinion on this novel. I know many people didn’t like this novel- so share your thoughts down below! I would love to hear them!

#lovebooks

December Favourites, Hauls + A Wrap-Up

Happy December Everybody!!!

How have you guys been? I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and/or a happy Hannukah- if you don’t celebrate any of these I hope you had a great holiday and I’m wishing you an early happy new year! December for me was filled with adventures, happiness, and joy. I definitely had an improving reading month, I received lots of books and gained lots of new favorite things! Tell me about your December month in the comments and link your December favorites, wrap-ups and hauls as well!

bookish wrap-up

I am pretty happy with the books I’ve read this month! In fact, I am currently reading We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan and I think I can finish it by the end of the month, which means I would have read four books. Although it doesn’t sound like much, that is so much better than by last few reading months, where I was in a constant state of frenzy and bookish slug. Here are the books I read this month!

The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew ★★☆☆☆

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige★★★★☆
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles ★★★☆☆
We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

book haul!

So as the holidays are approaching, I got some books from publishers and bought some books for myself to read! I hauled these books:

The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew
We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak
Freeks by Amanda Hocking
The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
December/January Frankie Magazine

favourites

Volunteering

Early this month and late last month, I was lucky enough to get to go volunteering all around my city and it was such an unforgettable experience. I’m still young and that usually means organizations are less likely to take me on board as a volunteer but I finally had a chance to give back to my community. I cooked in soup kitchens, made little Christmas ornaments, sorted clothes and packed necessity bags, all around different communities. The feeling you get from volunteering is indescribable because not only are you supporting those in need, you are gaining new skills and friendships. I feel so blessed to live what I believe is a good life and I have always wanted to give back to the community, which is why I am so glad I had the chance to volunteer at so many charities this month and last month!

Kool & Co Candles

This month I also received these adorable candles from Kool & Co. I got one in Coconut and an Ariel-inspired scent. I love the smell and I also really like the fact that they are 100% soy-based which makes it better for your nose! I can’t wait to burn these candles during the winter! Here is a link to their shop!

Bella Boxes + Perfume

I also received the Bella Box, which is a monthly beauty subscription service. You can check out my review to that here!  I also got this VS Coconut Passion perfume spray. I got it a really good price and I couldn’t resist, I am so picky when it comes to perfume smells but I have a weak spot for anything that smells like vanilla, coconut or caramel. I love the smell of the spray and I am so glad I bought it!

Succulents +  Teas

I also got this adorable little succulent plant as a Christmas present! It’s fake because I literally can’t keep any plant alive 🙂 I use it as room decor and it just hangs from the roof of my room! I also got some French Earl Grey Tea from T2 for Christmas. I am actually not a huge fan of tea- I only like green tea and peppermint but I am trying to get into it. Hopefully, I’ll brew some of it up soon!

That’s all from me! I can’t wait to dive into some of the books I received this month! It’s the end of 2016 and I can’t wait to welcome to the new year! I hope you all had a great Christmas and don’t forget to tell me what you received and hauled this December, as well as link your December wrap-ups, favourites and hauls down below!

#lovebooks

Book Review: The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew

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Title: The Light That Gets Lost
Author: Natasha Carthew
Release Date: April 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Overall Rating:  5/10
Genre: Adventure, Thriller, Action, Coming of Age

“He promised the demon that was forever watchful inside,”
Natasha Carthew, The Light That Gets Lost pg8

I recently read The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew but much to my surprise, I have mixed feelings upon finishing the novel. When I first picked it up the title and cover caught my attention, I loved the name of the novel and the blue colors splashed across the cover won me over- I couldn’t wait to read the book. However, after three chapters my heart sunk because it turns out this book wasn’t as good as it seems, in fact, I didn’t like it at all. There were bits that I thought were still somewhat well done and so lets begin with that.

I enjoyed how Carthew began with a really exciting prologue. The scene in which Trey’s family was in danger sparked lots of questions in me which caused me to really want to continue the story. I wanted to find out what happens to Trey, why his family was killed and many more questions. However, when Trey set foot in the camp the story began to tumble down for me.

I think a huge issue with this book was that I found it extremely hard to connect to the storyline and its characters. For one, I have never experience or been through the issues many of the characters faced and the character’s background and personalities weren’t quite like mine. For example, I couldn’t connect to Trey at all, his actions annoyed me and his decisions were nothing like what I would do. He was reckless and angered which got on my nerves during many situations. With Kay, I couldn’t quite connect with her either. I think that because I had couldn’t click or relate to the characters, I found it difficult to enjoy the book. I believe relatable characters or characters which pull you in are vital to creating a good book but there was a lack of that in this novel. The dialogue between the characters was also quite hard to understand the jargon and slang used by the characters made it pretty difficult to follow.The storyline was also quite hard to follow there were issues and problems here and there

The storyline was also quite hard to follow there were issues and problems here and there that added layers of confusion. I think there were too many loose ends in the book- the demons that lived inside of him was extremely confusing. There was no mention of demons in the first quarter of the book and they suddenly came into the story about 60% of the way through the novel. It made the story seem unrealistic and childish. I understand that it was a metaphor for his evil nature but I did not like the idea at all. In addition, the relationship development between Kay and Trey was quite poorly done. I didn’t see much romance or development between them and they didn’t even get together in the end. It felt like puppy love to me and I was really disappointed at the end of the book.

I wouldn’t say this book was a disappointment because I had high expectations, there were some things here and there that were enjoyable to read but overall, I didn’t quite enjoy it. I thought there were two many loose ends and I found it difficult to relate and connect with the characters. Perhaps, it was because I have never really experienced what had happened in the novel, which caused me to dislike the book. However, I have to say that I didn’t like it. Have you read The Light That Gets Lost? What did you think?

book + song:

if you liked these books you will love natasha carthew’s the light that gets lost

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#lovebooks❤