Book Reviews





Happy New Year from Mab is Mab

I just wanted to wish all of my readers, old and new, a wonderful 2015.

Here's hoping for many new books, never ending creativity, and more exciting stationery for you all.
Thanks for making 2014 a great year to be blogging in, and I hope to see you all in 2015 too!

Plans for Mab is Mab in 2015 include: more design, more books, more reviews to include stationery(!), more blog link ups, giveaways, creativity - and, no doubt, a theme refresh or two haha!

Resolution? Do More Of What You Love.

Much love,


Best Books (and adaptations) of 2014

It's round-up time! There have been some absolutely amazing books released this year. Every year, I seem to find a new favourite! Here are some of my top picks from 2014 - I can't wait to see what 2015 brings, and I want to say a big thank you to anyone who has sent me a book this year, either as a gift, a prize or for review. You certainly made my TBR pile scary and wonderful all at once :)

I also want to say that 2014 was made exceptionally brilliant by the existence of YALC. I hope it comes back.

So, onto my favourite titles from the year...

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Why? It was incredibly creepy with a really unique premise. Being scared to see the unknown is one thing, but not being able to survive seeing the unknown is even scarier! I really recommend this book to fans of creepy horror.

My review:

 The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Why? The Fall was incredibly gothic and paid homage to Edgar Allen Poe. In my teenage years, I would have been ALL OVER this book. As an adult, I am hugely thankful it exists. It was a wonderful, sweeping tribute to the original story that enhanced it rather than sacrificed it.

My review:

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

Why? The language! This book was hit and miss amongst bloggers, but I am definitely on the side of "OMG THAT WAS AMAZING!" The story itself wasn't as good as its presentation, but hey, it wasn't bad either. Dark and twisting, We Were Liars had me hooked.

My review:

 Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Why? This book was a rollercoaster ride of a thriller. It was fast paced and unrelenting. Dark, twisted, messed up, amazing! I can't recommend it enough. So much outpour of love happened that Mily (The YA Nightstand) and I ended up doing a no holds barred virtual book club to discuss the spoilers, ha!

My review: 

We Used To Be Kings by Stewart Foster

Why? Another one I loved for the writing style, We Used To Be Kings is the emotionally wrought tale of a troubled teen and his younger brother, dealing with issues of mental health and grief. Deep, sensitive and wonderful.

My review:

 Echo Boy by Matt Haig 

Why? Another fast paced thriller, I loved that Echo Boy was unafraid to ask challenging questions within YA. I loved the characters, and it was one of the few books in which I truly hoped for a romance. I've recommended this book a lot this year!

My review:

PLUS SPECIAL SHOUT-OUTS TO: Trouble by Non Pratt, Tease by Amanda Maciel and The Girl With All The Gifts by M R Carey

And for your bonus films

I couldn't leave my "best of" post without a mention of the year's slew of wonderful book adaptations.
I have to say I think my favorite was Divergent (how could anything with a real life Four not be?!) I felt it kept very faithful to the book, and the cast were great. That said, The Fault In Our Stars, Before I Go To Sleep, Gone Girl and Mockingjay Part 1 were all AMAZING too. What a great film year for book geeks!


Bird Box by Josh Malerman - review

It's better to face madness with a plan than to sit still and let it take you in pieces"  

Title: Bird Box
Author: Josh Malerman

Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Purchased from Kindle Store
Available: Now
Buy it: Here


Malorie is leaving her home with two four-year-old children. She has been training the children to rely on hearing more than sight since birth, and has been planning their route out for years. All of them are blindfolded, and while they are, they are safe. But at some point, Malorie knows, the mask must come off.


Oh wow, where to begin with Bird Box... That this book is a debut novel is unbelievable. It's taut and frightening - playing masterfully on the fear of the unknown. The characters are wonderfully varied and the broken-up structure, giving glimpses of what is to come, is perfect for the mysterious atmosphere the book creates. Bird Box is true horror, complete with suspense, violence, stormy nights and a narrator to root for.

The whole idea of not knowing what the danger looks like, and as soon as you set eyes upon it, it being too late, is so clever. I found it quite mind bending if I thought about it for too long, and you feel the fear of unknown right alongside Malorie. One of the most affecting scenes of the book for me was "hearing" through Malorie the sound of a dog going mad and killing itself. You never "see" a thing, but the implied situation from the description of the sound is very vivid.

Malorie herself is a wonderful narrator. Calculating and thoughtful, she isn't the kind of woman who screams at the slightest sound. She is a determined mother, pregnant throughout most of the book but with the future and safe delivery of her child ever-present in her thoughts and actions. I wanted a successful journey for her very much!


A really atmospheric and clever horror, Bird Box gives as much attention to atmospheric build up and character motivations as it does to action and gore. Bird Box has a really unique premise and I HIGHLY recommend it to fans of horror writing. Loved it!



Kawaii Wonderland Lucky Dip review

I love Kawaii! But you probably already know that.
Readers of Mab is Mab will no doubt be familiar with my monthly Kawaii Box deliveries from Kawaii Box Co which are amazing! So when I saw that Kawaii Wonderland do monthly Lucky Dip bundles, I thought I would buy one to see what it was like!

As it was my birthday this month, I treated myself to the December Lucky Dip:

The package arrived so quickly, and was adorably wrapped in shiny paper and pink tinsel. Inside, some of the items were wrapped up in Christmas paper for extra suspense and surprise along with a handwritten Christmas card which I thought was a really nice touch.

The items themselves were many and varied. I really loved the wide range of products offered in the lucky dip - squishies, stationery, sweets, accessories, household items... - and there were some truly quirky bits and pieces to boot. 

I love the paper goods included in the Kawaii Wonderland Lucky Dip. I can honestly say I will use each and every thing! The cat postcard and sticky notes are creepy-cute which is totally my thing, and the daily schedule sticky notes are going to be so useful at work!

I'm going to be using the squishy pandas as part of my Christmas gift wrapping (kawaii parcels!) and the panda sweets were devoured within minutes between my boyfriend and me!

As for the biscuit pen and the toothpaste squeezer, I am torn between giving them as quirky gifts and keeping them all for myself! haha

I absolutely loved the Lucky Dip selection, it's full to the brim, pleasingly unusual and lovingly presented. While it perhaps doesn't match my Kawaii Box Co box for well-established brands, it certainly does offer brilliant value for money to top up on the kawaii hit! One Lucky Dip cost just over £12 including postage which I think is an absolute bargain.

I'll be ordering again!

(Note: I bought the Kawaii Wonderland Lucky Dip for my own review purposes as I love kawaii surprises, and was not offered anything in return for this review)


Mini Reviews: All The Truth That's In Me, The Queen's Fool and The Cure For Dreaming

Hello! So, I've recently read a lot of books that aren't "new", and although I've missed the review flurry around them, I still wanted to feature them on the blog!
I've decided to do a short series of "mini reviews" to round them up. If anyone want's to see my thoughts of any of them in the usual format leave a comment and I'll see if there's any popular ones!

My first mini-review post featured If I Stay, The Rosie Project and The List.
This time round; All The Truth That's In Me, The Queen's Fool and The Cure For Dreaming.

All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

In a nutshell: Girl with no tongue struggles with love, trauma and secrets.
Condensed thoughts: This was a really surprising book. I didn't know it was set in an historic time period, and the short chapters and sharp scene shifts were new and interesting. It was also written in the second person which I had never read before. All in all ATTTIM was very intriguing, exciting and very different to your usual YA mystery - definitely recommended!

Rating: ★★

The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory

In a nutshell: Girl who sees angels and predicts the future pretends to be a boy in the queen's court.
Condensed thoughts: I felt that The Queen's Fool was very different to previous books I have read by Philippa Gregory. The melodrama lacked in place of superstitious paranormal... It was a bit weird. Once I had surrendered to it, though, I liked the story, and Hannah's character was really likeable.

Rating: ★★

The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters

In a nutshell: Olivia is hypnotized to see where evil lies, and fights for women's rights.
Condensed thoughts: I really enjoyed The Cure For Dreaming for it's hypnotic themes and quirky characters. The descriptions of Olivia's "true sight" were brilliant and the whole book felt really well placed in it's time frame. I loved the not-so-subtext was of women's rights - and Olivia was the perfect character to play with these ideas and situations; strong willed and determined, but also young and quite innocent. This book has so many things going on, delivered in a fun and entertaining package!

Rating: ★★


Christmas Gifts for Book Lovers and Stationery Geeks!

Here is my 2014 gift guide for the bookish and the writerly. Count out your pennies, you'll want to double up on these for yourself too! This year I am also supporting indie sellers - all links will go to Etsy shops :) Christmas is here!

I've admired the prints of BraveMoonman for ages - I love this tea one. Who doesn't love a good brew with their paper-y enjoyments?!

Last year I gave you Dumbledore's Office. This year, may I introduce you to Sherlock's Study?! Candles perfect for the reader in your life.

These personalised Penguin book covers are just adorable! If you want to be a bit thrifty with the gift-buying this year, this one covers two very lucky people! 

Pack your books and pens in style with these gorgeous leather book bags. With SO many colours to choose from. These are totally on my wishlist!

Wear your favourite book around your neck! This has to be one of my favourite recent Etsy discoveries. I want so many of them! Lots of YA titles on offer.

Finally, the bright and bold designs from Bread and Jam never fail to make me smile, and I'm very sure they'd be the perfect happy gift as well! This correspondence set is great!

Happy Shopping!


The One with Tasha

Hello! Today I'd like to welcome Tasha to Mab is Mab! Tasha blogs at and you can find her on Twitter @thatmadhatter_ and Goodreads

Here are Tasha's picks for "The One"!

The One you always recommend:

Recently it's Bleak Expectations by Mark Evans. It was a completely different choice for me than what I usually pick up but I thought the humour was great! It's a pastiche of Dickens and while I haven't read the entirety of Great Expectations, there were elements that I could see from Dickens' work that Evans parodied.

The One that was a gift:

The Gift (aptly titled) by Cecelia Ahern was a gift from my Mum that I still adore to this day. Every Christmas my Mum would buy me books, but this was the only Christmas themed one I received, so I think that's why I love it as much as I do. It's definitely an annual read around the month of December.

The One that got away:

Very rare do I leave a book, even when I really don't get on with it, but I really struggled with If You're Reading This I'm Already Dead by Andrew Nicoll. I don't think I connected very well with the protagonist which was a shame as the characters were incredibly vivid.

The One that makes you cry:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Definitely one hell of a tear jerker and one that made me cry tears of sadness and joy pretty much everywhere I read it.

The One that still haunts you:

I will always remember the book hangover that I experienced for Looking For Alaska by John Green. It lasted a couple of days, and I definitely couldn't start another book until I got over it!

The One you always go back to: 

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler. It is my favourite book of all time, and it holds an extremely special place in my heart. I have Daniel Handler to thank for making Why We Broke Up my Bible!

Thanks Tasha! I love that your gifted book was "The Gift" - how apt indeed! Your high praise for Why We Broke Up makes me want to go right out and buy it!


Stationery Swap - Shopping list [+ DISCOUNT CODES!]

Dear swappers! Here are our favourite stationery shops in case you need some ideas or you are just shopping for Christmas presents. A big thanks to all these independent shops who have supported the swap! Please give them a follow and check out their wonderful goodies.


10% off all orders between 24th Nov - 6th Dec with the code STATIONERYLOVERS


15% off orders placed before 10th Dec with the code STATIONERYLOVERS


10% off orders placed before 6th Dec with the code tggswap10



10% off all orders placed before 6th Dec with the code STATIONERYLOVERS1


Caren is offering 15% off in her Etsy shop when you sign up to her newsletter


Happy stationery shopping everyone!


The Prophecy of Bees by R S Pateman - review

“The buzz within reverberated... The hive walls shook."  

Title: The Prophecy of Bees
Author: R S Pateman

Publisher: Orion
Source: ARC vis Netgalley
Available: November 20th 2014
Buy it: Here


Izzy and her mother are moving to Stagcote Manor, a large manor house in the very quaint and traditional village of Stagcote. Running away from London, and the troubles that has driven a wedge between them, they find themselves transplanted into a world of claustrophobic superstition and curses. Is it all just "country tales" as Izzy's mum says, or is there something more to the rituals the villagers swear by?


I found The Prophecy of Bees to be a very hit and miss novel. On the one hand, there is the excellent build up of mystery and creepy characters, and on the other there is a narrator that feels so out of place it was hard to overlook.

I've never really experienced before what I felt for the narrator, Izzy, reading The Prophecy Of Bees. I mean, why couldn't any type of person end up in any situation? There's no reason why they shouldn't! But, that said, I completely struggled to align myself with Izzy. She seemed to be all "too much" in an otherwise subtle and slowly building narrative. Hers was an alternative YA "dilemmas of the heart" story planted in an adult gothic. It was just weird. Separately these things could have been brilliant, but together they were strange.

That said, the surrounding story of Stagcote and its "little ways" was absolutely enthralling. I love a creepy tale and I was certainly eager to know what it all would amount to. The surprises were well paced and unpredictable, and the ending was fitting. I got a real feel of The Wicker Man while reading The Prophecy of Bees.


I loved the scene-setting and atmospheric build up of The Prophecy of Bees. It all felt very "Wicker man" and creepy, but my disconnect with the narrator severely impacted my overall enjoyment of the book. That said, I would definitely recommend to fans of mysterious old house novels!



Weekly Reflection #59 - Hyper Japan!

This weekend was Hyper Japan Xmas Market weekend - and I've been looking forward to it since the summer event! Here's what I got up to:

Hyper Japan is an event that celebrates "today's Japan" which means there is a lot of food, sake, sweets, kawaii, anime, manga and fashion and art to be explored! It was held at Olympia in London, and I really preferred it to previous times at Earls Court as it had a balcony which was perfect for stall-spotting!

Tofu Cute ran a Candy Festival which was great - but OMG sugar high! My boyfriend and I shared this huuuge tasting selection and then promptly found the Tofu Cute stall to stock up on Pocky! I wasn't so keen on "soda balls" They felt like plastic balls and bubbled really crazily on your tongue! Other things I ate included a chicken katsu bento box and mango shaved ice - mmmm.

The Christmas Tree at Hyper Japan was covered in "ema" - wooden messages of wishes, good luck and love. I had a particular soft spot for this one ;)

I went to visit the Cakes With Faces stand as I have been lusting over a few items on the website for a while. I picked up a cute strawberry cat charm and almost bought an "all the best stuff comes from Japan" t-shirt hehe. I also want to also say a big thank you to them for rifling through their stock to find me a charm too!

My boyfriend and I are geeks at heart - so we couldn't pass up the chance to buy some retro Nintendo wall art for our home!

Of course, a Japanese experience wouldn't be complete without some J-Pop! I can't remember who this artist was (shame on me!) but she was ridiculously tiny and bouncy and every bit "kawaii" haha

I *may* have been bought a giant alpaccasso for Xmas... (shh!)

There were loads of minion themed things at Hyper Japan this year, which seemed a bit odd as they were created by an American film company, but there you go... they're cute and I'm not complaining ;)

And this is my little haul! Bulbasaur chopping board FTW!

I rounded off a great and tiring day at home with my Polar Bear Lush bath bomb. The perfect end!

I've already got Hyper Japan 2015 in my diary - will you be going?!


Mini Reviews: If I stay, The Rosie Project, The List

Hello! So, I've recently read a lot of books that aren't "new", and although I've missed the review flurry around them, I still wanted to feature them on the blog!
I've decided to do a short series of "mini reviews" to round them up. If anyone want's to see my thoughts of any of them in the usual format leave a comment and I'll see if there's any popular ones!

In the first series of these mini reviews, I'll be looking at If I Stay, The Rosie Project and The List.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

In a nutshell: Girl falls into coma, and has to choose whether she wants to wake up.
Condensed thoughts: I don't think this lived up to the hype for me. I found the whole family dynamic really unbelievable - too perfect?! - and I had to admit I cringed at the "love scene". I also found it really hard to relate to Mia as she was very much defined by her love of the cello, and to me it was a little dull. That said, I was hooked by the narrative. I needed to know what she chose!

Rating: ★★

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

In a nutshell: Socially restricted guy meets socially "quirky" girl.
Condensed thoughts: I loved the off-beat premise of this novel. Don Tillman is a man who is equally frustrating and loveable, and chaotic Rosie is his perfect foil. I think the friendships surrounding Don meant so much to the enjoyment of this book, as without them I think the main characters could have just become and overload of "too much".

Rating: ★★

The List by Joanna Bolouri

In a nutshell: Woman undertakes a self-curated list of new sexual experiences.
Condensed thoughts: Oh gosh, I laughed out loud so much at this book - in a good way! I read it on holiday and it is the perfect light-hearted beach read. The characters are very human - if not totally "likeable" - and I couldn't wait to get home and start sharing the book between my girl friends!

Rating: ★★

Next time, mini reviews of The Queen's Fool by Phillipa Gregory and All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry.


Beautiful Books - October 2014

Every month, I will be rounding up some of my favourite book cover art from the month's new releases. As a designer during out-of-blog-hours, I love cover reveals and Q and A's with the artists! It's a bit of a dream job of mine to one day become a book cover designer, so I'm considering this good source for inspiration too ;)

Here are my favourites from October 2014

Not only is it an AMAZING book, but The Fall by Bethany Griffin also has a wonderful cover. It really gives the right tone for the story inside. I love the grungy texture and whispy almost-there photo.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Kaasch has one of those covers that screams "series you need to take note of". It reminds me a lot of the faction emblems that were part of the Divergent series, but I love the rich colours against the cold backdrop. Really lovely.

A lot of snowy covers this month...! Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah has been on my to-read list ever since this gorgeous cover grabbed my attention. It's so "fairytale" and sparse. The people looked dwarfed by the whiteness. The font is understated and the arrangement is inspired. I love it!

More gorgeous woodland scenes! Oh, we are being spoilt for wonderful cover art recently. Stray by Elissa Sussman is no exception. I want this cover on my wall. The light and the texture meeting that royal blue... it's perfect!

And finally for October, Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater has such a dreamy, whimsical cover I knew I would be featuring it as soon as a saw it! I'm not so keen on that title font but the graphic is wonderful - and again, very woodland. Theme of the month?!