Book Reviews





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?!


Stationery Lovers Christmas Swap - SIGN UP

I am very excited to announce something to all of you lovely stationery fans (and I know there are quite a few of you!) - I am hosting a Stationery Lovers Christmas Swap with Claireabellemakes!

This is your chance to send and receive a lovely, stationery themed package, just in time for Christmas. What could be better?! Especially if your location means your variety is pretty limited.

If you are a regular Mab is Mab reader, you will know my love for stationery comes second only to my love of reading, and I regularly feature some of my favourite brands. So I am so excited to help (and encourage!) you to share that stationery love with others who love it just as much.

Need somewhere to keep your reading notes?  
Want some new pretties to make you classmates jealous? 
Love sending handwritten messages?
Kawaii fan?  
Writing a book?!  
Just gosh-darn-it LOVE stationery?!

If you would like to take part, here are all the details you need: 

Sign up by emailing including your name, full postal address (including country), email and stationery likes and dislikes. Also include whether you are absolutely happy to post internationally. We would love to know if anyone is willing to be on the reserve list for international posting in case we have to switch some partners around! The deadline for sign ups is 21 November.
You will be emailed details of your swap partner by 24 November.
24 November - 6 December is the period for you to get shopping and find some stationery treats for your partner! Be creative and enjoy! Although it's a Christmassy swap, all stationery items are just great! The suggested spending limit is £10 before postage costs.
Post your package by 6 December and be sure to add the hashtag #StationeryLoversXmas to your parcel. We recommend getting a proof of postage too.
Once your receive your package, shout about on social media using the hashtag and feel free to blog about the swap to share the stationery love!
Please let us know if you are unable to take part for any reason, so we can ensure every person receives some happy mail regardless!
Any queries can be directed to myself (Emma) or Claire via

I hope I will get to see some of you taking part - this is the first swap Claire and I have organised and we are really excited to see it taking shape and to help people receive some happy mail. So, sign up and get swapping!!