Uncategorized, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday- 8th May 2019

Trying out a slightly different blog schedule this week and today is going to be WWW Wednesday! A short and sweet post inspired by the weekly prompts from Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s very simple, Sam posts three W questions and I answer them.

For Wednesday 8th May the Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you Currently Reading?
My Sci-Fi binge is well underway and I’m currently reading LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff, I’m just under halfway through and really enjoying it so far I’ve been warned that Jay likes to screw around with your feelings and is fond of cliffhangers or WTF moments at the end of his books so kind of terrified to get to the end not gonna lie.

I’ve been listening to at least half an hour of the Gemina (by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff) before I go to sleep since Monday as part of a buddy reread with @Nnovakk on Twitter which I’ve been really enjoying listening to again.

I’m also still slooooowly listening to Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassie Clare and have four hours left, I’m so close yet so far!

What did you recently finish reading?
Most recently has been Aurora Rising, (you can check out my spoiler free review here) it was my most anticpated read of 2019 and I was not dissapointed! I’m now eagerly awaiting my signed copy from GCreads with my Momento novella and my special Illumicrate edition and themed box coming in the next few weeks. SO excited, I’m very much not done with the hype just yet.

What do you think you’ll read next?
I feel like it’ll either be Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray, because it sounds like it shares some similarities with LifeL1k3 or The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers which is series I’ve been desperate to get into!

Have you read any of these? If so what are your thoughts? What do you think I should read next?

 

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spoiler free, Uncategorized

Browsing Bloggers Bookshelves with Lauren @Northern Plunder

One of my favourite bloggers, Lauren from Northern Plunder has started a new feature on her blog recently where she swaps pictures of her bookshelves with others and then we discuss each other’s shelves perhaps mentioning which books we would like to read, would recommend or perhaps would not recommend. I loved the idea and got in touch asap with Lauren to swap pictures and today you can see what we thought of each other’s shelves. You can find Lauren’s post here. I actually met Lauren at YALC last year and I love that she reviews graphic novels as well, not to mention the fact that she’s a fellow gamer and also loves Mass Effect too 😍

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First off, I love this style bookshelves, mine are so boring in comparison. Also, I’m living for the Brienne of Tarth pop figure in the bottom left corner! As for books, I’m super pleased to see two of the three Iluminae Files books (my favourite) I cannot recommend them enough!  Below them is Nevernight which I still have to read but am very excited to do so, there are also two of the Sookie Stackhouse books if I’m not mistaken they’re early on in the series and therefore are still actually pretty good, they went downhill a little towards the end. Much like ACOWAR, I can just about see there too. ACOMAF wasn’t too bad though.

The only book in the second cubby I even recognise if Kingdom of Ash which I am yet to read fully, I started it and just haven’t got back to it yet. I do like the sound and look of the spine for Welcome to the Night Vale though. In the third cubby, I see the first four books in the Vampire Diaries series. As much as I still enjoyed the others these four are the best and were still written by the original author whereas the others were ghostwritten, they didn’t age amazingly but I still like to go back and read them every so often. I also spy one of the Night World omnibus books by the same author that I do really want to get around to reading at some point. The last book there I recognise is Allegiant which is the third book in the Divergent series if I’m not mistaken. I enjoyed the first few books quite a bit but I really wish I hadn’t read the third book I’m sorry to say.

In the fourth and final cubby, are some pretty hardbacks. Spellslinger caught my eye as it’s the first book in a series that I would like to try reading, I recognise Eve of Man which I had on my TBR after buying it because the cover was so pretty. I didn’t realise it at first but Truthwitch is also on that shelf which is one of those books I really wanted to like that I just couldn’t get on with. Soulstealer, the cat woman novel by Sarah J Maas is hidden away up the top there as well which is another book on my TBR that I do want to to read but just haven’t felt it’s been the right time for yet.

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I’m absolutely drooling at all the Laini Taylor goodness on that top shelf, especially the Illumicrate special edition Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares. I’m also glad to see it wasn’t just me that needed more than one edition of Nights and Puppets as well. Also is that a Six of Crows arc hiding away behind King of Scars? Because OMG.

The second shelf has the almost obligatory Throne of Glass books which I’ve read, Caraval which I really liked and not one, not two but three editions of The Cruel Prince, I’m assuming it wasn’t just me who loved this book? I’m super jealous of her special editions of  Vicious and Vengeful too! I’ve read City of Ghosts but am yet to read the Darker Shade of Magic or Our Dark Duet books yet but I do own them and they’re on my TBR. I’m interested in Grace and Fury as I’ve heard a lot of people liked it and Lauren obviously likes it enough to have three copies of it so consider it added to my list. I@ve read Rebel of the Sands and it was okay but I did carry on with the series and love the rest of it, I’ve also read a few chapters of State of Sorrow but haven’t finished it yet. The only book on that shelf that I’ve read is Everless and sadly it was one that I really didn’t enjoy.

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I was intrigued by Spare and Found parts so quickly looked it up and I absolutely need that book in my life. I also really want to read the Vic James books as well, I’m reading Sanctuary by her at the moment and loving it so want to get round to reading her older books too. I’m loving that this shelf has some comics and I checked out the artist Lolsh, again out of curiosity and I’m so glad I did because her art is absolutely STUNNING!

This next shelf looks to be like it’s all books from Fairyloot if I’m not mistaken as I used to have a very similar looking shelf myself. It took me far too long to get around to it but I loved The Last Namsara up in the corner there and although I own a few of the other books I haven’t read any of them such as Legendary, Even the Darkest Stars and enchantment of Ravens. I’m intrigued by Given to the Sea and I think I gave away my copy of Flashfall but will have to check as I’m really interested in reading it right now and it was my first Fairyloot book.

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My eyes immediately go to Heartstopper here but that book is an absolute must. SO cute and wholesome, definitely recommend. I like that Lauren’s graphic novels are all such great colours and there are some great choices here, Saga and the Fables books are ones I’ve read before as well as the Rat Queens books which I love. I’m interested in Paper Girls from that shelf mainly for the brightly coloured spines.

This last shelf looks to be mainly arcs and I’ve not read a single one of them. I do own a finished copy of Warcross I’ve been meaning to read through though and the Mortal Coil books have always seemed interesting to me so this has reminded me to put them on my TBR list officially.

Thank you so much to Lauren for letting me take part in this fun new feature, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to browse your bookshelves and hope you enjoyed looking at mine even if they are an absolute state at the moment.

Do you do anything in particular with your bookshelves? Do you order your books in certain ways, perhaps you have shelves filled with books by particular authors? Do you have bookish merch or other things amongst your books as well? Show me your bookshelves or tell me all about them, I love to see them and don’t forget to check out Lauren’s blog where you can see what she thought of my bookshelves!

 

book reviews, spoiler free, Uncategorized

The Devouring Gray

Devouring Gray.pngThe Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Rating: XXXXX

“Being invisible when you used to be seen…it’s like being dead, but no one mourns you.” 

Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.

After hearing about this book going around Twitter I became quickly intrigued by the creepy aesthetic and almost political intrigue based in a small town where four founding families are primarily in power, respected and revered. A lot of people referred to it as a mix of Riverdale and Stranger things, of which I have seen neither but had heard good things about. I was gifted this book by Titan in exchange for an honest review and I was so excited when it arrived, the UK paperback as a chilling cover design alongside hot pink sprayed edge pages! Not to mention as an extra spooky treat there were four tarot cards including at important parts to do with each card already placed inside the book which I kept in place and collected as I read through to give the book an extra dimension.

The Devouring Gray is aptly named because I absolutely devoured this book. I was slowed down a little by the fact I didn’t read it much at night because it was mega spooky in places but I found any spare time I could to read it during the day. There were just so many great aspects to this book I had trouble putting it down.

One thing I got excited about early on is all the fantastic rep in this book. There were not one but two bisexual characters who both mention attractions to same and different genders with one such character not having even experienced an actual relationship with anyone before and all of this is an absolute breath of fresh air in my queer lungs because both happen so rarely in books, let alone together and it is a GIFT. Speaking of gifts, arguably my favourite character, Harper Carlisle is also representing with some disability rep by being amazing with a sword and still managing to kick butt all while being her awesome self and missing one arm from the elbow down. I could honestly talk about her forever.

I don’t say this a lot but, I LOVED all of the romance spread throughout the book too. It’s not super obvious and although it’s threaded through the plot in places it doesn’t take it over and I find all the different dynamics interesting enough that I’m always interested in more and I enjoy the little moments we get here and there whereas often in a lot of books I can’t wait for said moments to end. I’m fully invested enough now that I would read a sequel to find out what happens with who for that alone at this point (although I am looking forward to the second book for other reasons as well of course).

The plot is twisty and I found myself constantly second-guessing myself and being unsure who to trust and/or believe thanks to four different POV’s not all of which are clued up on events or what I could call, particularly reliable narrators and that all just adds a whole other twisty angle to it that really got me turning pages like my life depended on it. The Devouring Gray is a familiar kind of story but author Christine makes it her own. This will be a book I don’t think I’ll be shutting up about for a while and now desperately await its sequel!

 

 

 

 

#SixforSunday, Uncategorized

S4S – Favourite Video Games

Happy Sunday! I know I usually follow the Six for Sunday prompts from A Little but a Lot and after this month I will continue to do this but the prompts for this month are all based around kid lit of which I don’t think I know anywhere near enough about to write four posts on. I look forward to reading everyone else’s posts and learning more about it but for me personally this month I will be writing about Games: Video games, board games, tabletop RPG’s etc. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and obviously I’m still a book blogger but I thought a little change would be nice for the month (at least it’s not another full week of Star Wars posts right?) So for this week and the first Sunday of the month I will be telling you about nine of my favourite video games of all time.

1. Mass Effect 2 and/or 3
I refuse to pick between these two as they are both my number one game (none of the others are in order but I couldn’t not list these first). I came to Mass Effect a little later than some, playing the second game first and then replaying all three in order once three was released. I completely fell in love with the style of storytelling and the mix of that with combat. I have never loved any other fictional characters as much as I love my crew in these games. I’m not good at a lot of things but luck would have it if you play over 400 hours of any given game you tend to not suck too bad at it…

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2. World of Warcraft
Probably no surprise but even though the current version of the game is not it’s greatest self right now I’ve had a lot of good times playing WoW, with friends in-game and out. I love the rich lore and the little details hidden all over the world. I love so many of the stories the games tell and there have been some pretty iconic moments and characters that will stay with me forever as well as the memories like doing my first run of the Icecrown Citadel and defeating the Lich King sitting at the top of the stairs in my parents house as that was the only place with a decent enough WiFi connection to keep me logged in, the time that my mum decided to play too and thought she was being attacked but actually drowned or didn’t realise that as a mage she could use spells until she was level thirty…the world seemed so big when me and my friend started playing over ten years ago and now I know every corner of it and this game will always hold a special place in my heart.

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3. Skyrim
I don’t know many gamers who have played Skyrim and not loved it. Although its a game not many people play much more now it’s mainly because we have done every single side quest possible and have actually run out of things to do in game. It’s a brilliant, open world game the likes I hadn’t really seen before. I loved spending my nights as a newly turned vampire just running around picking flowers and working through my caseload as an assassin of a shady organisation. Another game filled with fantastic memories and a lot of hours sunk into it that I would happily go back and play again and again.

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4. Animal Crossing Wild World
I love pretty much all of the Animal Crossing games but unlike with the others where I’ve liked multiple iterations of the games in the series I know that Wild World is my favourite Animal Crossing game. It features the great parts that make it an Animal Crossing game and the same key ideas but there’s just so many great little extras that I love, my favourite of which is the observatory on the second floor of the museum ran by Celeste (blathers sister) where you could create your own constellations which you would then be able to see at certain times and dates in your world. It’s also featured in let’s go to the city too but I still prefer Wild World.

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5. Diablo 2/3
This was a hard one to pick because I couldn’t decide between Diablo 2 or Warcraft 3 which are both some of the first PC games I played when I was younger and love them both dearly but I decided to go with Diablo and also include 3 as I’ve played so much of it the past five or six years (at least) that it’s been out, heck I went into labour while doing a speed run of Diablo 3 so I figured it had earned its spot on this list. I love the dungeon crawling, loot finding, demon killing, scenery smashing, button mashing goodness that are the Diablo games. I know the third isn’t popular with some and I understand why but I loved it and played it to death almost as much as Diablo 2, if not more so now. Can we have Diablo 4 already, please? (Immortal doesn’t count…)

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6. Fable 2
Although the main story in these games didn’t blow my mind as much as the Mass Effect the utter freedom in these did. I loved that depending on how you acted and how you treated others would change how they treated you, you could form relationships, have families, buy a home etc all while going about your adventures etc. The Fable games are games I could honestly just play forever because they’re so much fun and I really love the quirky art style, huge array of brilliant voice acting across the board and the soundtrack that to this day I still love and remember most of.

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I’d also like to give shout outs to Warcraft 3, Dragon Age 2, Torchlight, Portal, Bioshock and Stardew Valley that didn’t quite make the cut but came close.

Let me know what your top six favourtite games are!!

Monthly Wrap up, Uncategorized

March Wrap Up

I don’t usually do wrap-ups but as this month I didn’t manage to find the space for a monthly TBR post I decided to try one. Most of the books I’ve read this month have been reviewed here already so I won’t go into huge detail but just thought it would be nice to have it all in one place, in addition, I also wanted to include not just books but other forms of media I’ve enjoyed too. I’m not sure yet if this will be an every month occurrence yet or just a one-off for March but let me know if you enjoy it and we’ll see where it goes!

Books

The Near Witch by V.E Schwab XXXX (Spoiler free review here)
A brand new reprinting of V.E Schawb’s debut novel, The Near Witch is an absolute gem. It’s dark and spooky with the perfect amount of angst and a little romance. This debut, although not as polished as her later works it still very decidedly hers though and well worth a read even if you’ve read it before as this new version, in addition to being absolutely gorgeous also features an extra short story “Ash born boy” which was fantastic and well deserving of a XXXXX rating all of it’s own.

Firefly: The Magnificent Nine by Jame Lovegrove XXXXX (Spoiler free review here)
This was such a fun book to read, a fantastic tie in to the original TV series and although it certainly is an enjoyable book to read without any prior knowledge of the show its crowning glory is the brilliant way James has managed to really capture the whole feeling of the show and it’s world as well as it’s characters as well as giving us a deeper look into those characters in a way we weren’t able to get through the media of television but translates easily to the written word. A must for Firefly fans especially is Jayne Cobb is your favourite. I also did a Q&A with James which you can check out here.

Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy XXXXX (Spoiler free review here)
The only words to do this justice are ones I’ve already used in my full review…SWORDS, JOUSTING, SPACESHIPS, STRONG QUEER WOMEN, TEENAGE MERLIN, GORGEOUS FLUIDS AND NON BINARIES, MAGIC, ANGST, SEXUAL TENSION AND DID I MENTION THIS IS MOSTLY SET IN SPACE BECAUSE YES. Once and Future absolutely blew my mind, it riled me up, it crushed my heart then it brought me back, shoved a sword in my hand and it told me to go save the world. This is an absolute whirlwind of a book and despite the King Arthur type story, or even the reincarnation of King Arthur, Once and Future not only manages to feel new and unique, it feels damn well revolutionary. There is SO much fantastic rep to be found here and I honestly love it so damn much.

Currently reading: Summer Bird Blue By Dawn Akemi Bowman (Review to come soon!)
I’m SO close to finishing this book right now! I wasn’t sure how I would feel jumping from sci-fi into contemporary which isn’t my favourite of genres but Akemi has excelled once again, as with Starfish it explores complicated feelings and relationships and how her characters deal with those, in the case of Summer Bird Blue, Rumi loses her sister and is consumed by not only the sadness that we often associate with grief but also the anger and resentment we feel as well. A spectacular, moving story that I know is going to continue to break my heart.

Films

The Conjuring 2
The start of a slippery slope deciding to try out a horror film as I don’t ever really watch them at home but thought heck why not. This was actually really great. It had some great twists and a nice variety of different scares with the story actually being really interesting and making me really want to watch the third one now.

Don’t Knock Twice
Second horror film after the first one went so well, the trailer was pretty damn creepy and this one definitely had some moments and I actually screamed once but honestly, there was just too much talking for my liking and I did nod off a little once or twice.

The Lego Movie 2
My four year old has recently become obsessed with the first lego movie and it’s accompanying video game so we took a trip to the cinema together to check out the second film and it was fantastic, I really liked the first one and this sequel did not disappoint. It made fun of itself, there were some genuinely sad moments, some great twists and in the vein of the big twist/reveal at the end of the first one we got another great reveal that had been hinted at throughout the film and was done really well. I also have to say that I’m in love with the soundtrack and downloaded it the moment I got home, the catchy song is fantastic as is a slightly different version of “everything is awesome” towards the end of the film and the song that plays over the credits is just gold. Definitely, want to see this again.

Passengers
On my Sci-fi kick and when trying to decide on a film to watch this one really seemed interesting and was one we both hadn’t seen before and decided to try out. Really glad we did, I wasn’t sure what direction it would take and it definitely surprised me. Not to mention there was an android I got attached to. This film really went to places I wouldn’t have guessed and ended up being pretty thought-provoking and harrowing in places while also being sweet as well as having a good amount of action when the need called for it. Will be watching this one again as well.

TV Shows

Star Trek Discovery – Season 2 episodes 7-9
I have absolutely loved getting to see young, slightly crazy, hot Spock with a beard these past few episodes and it’s been super interesting finding out what really happened to him, not to mention we got to see parts that directly connect to the very first episode of the original series. Also I can’t help it but every episode I have to tell Chris (the husband) how much I just adore Captain Pike, he’s just so wholesome while also being a little damaged by his past and he’s just such a perfect character and Anson Mount has done an amazing job at portraying him, he’s an absolute gem.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly different post from me, I enjoyed writing it and recapping my month. Where there any particular stories that you loved this month? Tell me all about them!

 

 

book reviews, Uncategorized

Monsters Review

40060754 Monsters by Sharon Dogar

Rating: XXX

Published February 7th by Anderson Press

“I am Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley” she says aloud. “I am each of those names and I am myself.”

1814: Mary Godwin, the sixteen-year-old daughter of radical socialist and feminist writers, runs away with a dangerously charming young poet – Percy Bysshe Shelley. From there, the two young lovers travel a Europe in the throes of revolutionary change, through high and low society, tragedy and passion, where they will be drawn into the orbit of the mad and bad Lord Byron.
But Mary and Percy are not alone: they bring Jane, Mary’s young step-sister. And she knows the biggest secrets of them all . . .

Told from Mary and Jane’s perspectives, Monsters is a novel about radical ideas, rule-breaking love, dangerous Romantics, and the creation of the greatest Gothic novel of them all: Frankenstein.

I hate to admit, I’ve never read Frankenstein, I have a nice copy ready and waiting to be read but as someone who tends to read based on my mood quite often I’ve just never found myself with a huge desire to read it, I’ll admit I also tend to steer clear of reading “classics” for whatever reason that I’ve not discovered myself yet. I have found myself curious about its author though, a young girl who essentially created the horror genre and this is why when I heard about a YA retelling of the life of that author I decided to give it a go. This review is as spoiler-free as I can make it but with the life of an important and popular figure like Mary Shelley, there are a few things that are already well known.

First off I would like to say that Monsters is well written and the language flows well, with the age of the characters and the time period I wasn’t sure I would be especially comfortable with the language but I was pleased to find it didn’t hinder me at all and if anything really added to the feel of the piece instead of being too distracting which I have found to be the case with other books written in this time period.

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I found this read difficult because although I don’t in any way disagree with the idea of polyamorous relationships or free love when approached in a proper, consenting adult way but I found the way it was addressed by the main characters to be extremely uncomfortable. This may be because of their age but I think most of it came down to the fact that they all seemed to look at in vastly different ways when to me, the most important part of this kind of relationships is to make sure that everyone is on the same page and it didn’t feel like that was happening here. To me, Shelley just seemed to use his radical beliefs as an excuse to run out on his responsibilities where possible and change lovers because he was bored. I understand not wanting to be tied down by marriage and the idea of loving or being attracted to more than one person, even at the same time but this requires a lot more communication than he ever seems to do other than holding his “beliefs” up as a shield when he gets caught out. Mary came across as jealous and not agreeing to the ideals she seems to have romanticised to the extreme and more interested in the feminist side of the ideals being that a woman isn’t held down by marriage and doesn’t become a belonging of the man she loves but honestly it rather felt like this happened to her anyway. Her stepsister Jane, later Clare, I feel was the true believer and actually at some points had the best understanding of what it means to be polyamorous with the only jealousy she feels being more to do with the fact that everyone gets pushed to the side when Mary is involved than with the ideals. Despite seeming a little unbearable to begin with became a favourite character of mine and one of the viewpoints I enjoyed reading the most.

I hadn’t realised how much of a tragic life Mary Shelley led and although this book only goes so far as the finishing of Mary writing Frankenstein there is an afterword at the end which explains what the fate of each of the characters was to be. There are some truly dark moments in this book that are written so especially well that they can really pull you down to a dark place so please be aware of trigger warnings for infant death and suicide. This is a hard book for me to describe and review, its certainly a poignoint, thought-provoking and moving book that brought me to tears a number of times,  with great pacing with characters who are immensely complex but it wasn’t enjoyable for me in the way a lot of books are, I enjoy books with some angst and darker themes at times but I think this might have been a bit too real for me personally. Its certainly an incredible read that I think definitely merits attention but I think it should be something that maybe isn’t an impulse buy and that needs to be thought through before reading because this isn’t a love story in the way it first sounds, it’s a story of passion yes but also of pain and fear and loss which I think can be a little overpowering for some, certainly for me.

Thank you so very much to Anderson Press for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Uncategorized

Cake in a Jar

36965881_1717777551639334_2543590313998417920_nToday’s post is a little different for my mainly bookish blog but with the reopening of the newly refurbished Cake in a Jar, which I consider to be one of THE best snacks while reading I knew I had to help spread the word and the lovely owner Georgina has agreed to let me pepper her with questions about her business as we talk vegan cakes, running your own business and designing cakes.

Originally derived from the concept of army wives sending cakes in jars to their husbands while stationed overseas, in 2013 Georgina created Cake in a Jar and took that idea and refined it into the masterpiece that it is today. At Cake in a jar, all cakes are vegan-friendly, 100% plant-based and cruelty-free, not to mention everyone is baked fresh to order and can be delivered right to your door in secure but fully recyclable packaging. Cake in a jar has evolved over the years, I first discovered this wonderful company at London Film and Comic Con and make sure to pay them a visit if they’re at a convention I’m attending as it turns out, cakes in jars are a perfect food to easily eat and keep your energy up and eat cleanly at a con! In July 2018 Georgina decided to transition the business to entirely plant-based meant learning how to make her yummy cakes in a completely new way and as someone who has now tried Cake in a Jar before and after I can tell you this amazing woman is a cake magician because they taste even better, there are a peanut butter, oreo and chocolate flavour and if that isn’t the best thing ever I don’t know what is.

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How did the idea for Cake in a Jar come about?

It was a solution to me branching out nationwide, I was racking my brains trying to think of a way to ship cake in the post without compromising it. I didn’t want to just be limited to the locality of Croydon. I was already having a go at a little baking business of my own after I had my son. I began receiving messages from people all over the country asking for cakes that I just couldn’t get to them. It took a solid year of development but eventually, I created a finished product I was happy with.

What is your favourite thing about running your own business?

Flexibility!
I love being able to maintain a stable family life and run my own business at the same time. I still get to do the school run, pop to the shops and all sorts… as long as I plan properly!
I also really like being able to listen to whatever music I like while I work. My previous jobs were quite restrictive in that sense (call centre and retail) so I totally appreciate the beauty of listening to a new album, start to finish.

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What made you decide to take Cake in a Jar to conventions?

I was already at conventions selling cupcakes but noticed that it was becoming quite a saturated market. As my business developed and changed directions I decided to mirror that at conventions too, I just thought it was probably worth a try!
I was pretty nervous but much to my surprise, it was an even bigger success than the cupcakes were! I think the versatility of the cakes was a real selling point. People were buying them as gifts for their family and friends and just popping them into their bags without worrying about them getting mushed. Also the long shelf life, they lasted 10x better than cupcakes. I worked pretty hard on coming up with ‘punny’ names and designs for the stickers too. For example, my Lemon Burst cake is branded as ‘One Zing To Rule Them All’ with a LOTR inspired image of The Ring but with a lemon peel wrapping around itself instead. We also have a Zelda themed one called ‘Chocarina of Time .’
You get the idea xD

You’ve recently rebranded and are now creating new vegan-friendly cakes, what led you to make this decision and how have you found changing your recipes to include plant-based ingredients?

YES! IT’S SO EXCITING!
I had been Pescatarian and then Vegetarian a few years prior but I began seeing more vegan related posts on my personal Social Media feeds. I also discovered I had developed Lactose Intolerance in my late 20s (much to my dismay, I really loved drinking lattes at the time.) I was hearing a lot about this Veganuary stuff and thought that because I pretty much only needed to give up eggs to make the leap so, why not? Probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
When January had ended I had learned so much that I was just oblivious to before. Although I couldn’t consume dairy myself I also didn’t want to profit from the industry anymore, same goes for eggs too. I made a pretty drastic and purely emotion-led decision to close the site indefinitely until I could rebrand myself to a business that I was proud of.
It took me so much longer than I anticipated! Turns out Vegan baking is pretty challenging and I had to teach myself a whole new method of cookery once again. However, the rewards of my non-vegan family and friends eating the new and improved versions, saying that they ‘couldn’t tell the difference’ made it all worth it in an instant. 

What is your favourite cake to eat?

Funnily enough, I don’t actually have much of a sweet tooth anymore. My fave is probably the Lemon Burst as I love the balance of the citrusy zing against the rich decadent frosting ❤ Spiced cakes are also a fave of mine, carrot cake, ginger cake etc.

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Your cakes always look absolutely beautiful with all their layers and frosting, I especially loved the alternating layers and a tantalising splodge of peanut butter and the sprinkling of nuts on top of the Peanut Butter, Oreo and Chocolate cake. Do you have a design process? If so could you tell me a little about it? 

Haha actually… I’m sure probably no one has noticed but I do have a touch of OCD. This has manifested itself into my baking; I have a thing about the number five, the noise volume has to be in multiples of five, items have to be (if possible) grouped in this number too. When I shop for ingredients, I have to buy at least 5 of each item at least!
The next time you look at a cake you might notice there are always 5 dots of jam or curd or sauce or whatever it may be in each layer! I don’t know why I can’t explain it. It just makes me feel better 🙂

What is Cake in a Jar up to at the moment and can you tell us what we can expect in the coming year?

I’m working on a Botanical collection of cakes to celebrate the upcoming Spring Season! Today I did my first trial of a cake I’ve been thinking up:

Lemon Zest and Rosemary infused sponge with a Blackcurrant curd and Elderflower frosting. 

I also REALLY want to do something with Coriander as it’s my absolute favourite herb of all time. I know a lot of people don’t like it and I want to try and put a spin on it, maybe with the help of some mango and lime perhaps…
I’m planning to release 3 flavours (hopefully) by the end of the month that will be available until the end of May so be sure to keep up to date with me on Social Media to find out when the new collection goes live!

After meticulously perfecting recipes, the new website and packaging Cake in a Jar reopened this week so make sure to check out the website here with all the new flavours now for sale!