Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder Book Review

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Fire Study is the third book in the Chronicles of Ixia series. I reviewed the first book here and the second book here.
Fire Study follows Yelena facing a larger scale threat, with new friends and old. She relied more on her magic in this book and faced self-doubt. The plot twists were even more shocking and the story was less predictable, something that I feel that Snyder has improved upon throughout her novels. 

Monday, 26 February 2018

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder Book Review

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This is the second book in The Chronicles of Ixia series, I reviewed the first book, Poison Study here.

Trigger warnings: rape, abuse, torture, murder, suicide, abduction

Magic Study follows directly on from where Poison Study ended. Before reading Magic Study, I read the extra content on Maria V. Snyder’s website that fits between these two books: chapter 1 of Poison Study from Valek’s point of view and Assassin Study, a short story featuring Valek.

The Liebster Award

Thank you to Chloe at bookdragons247.wordpress.com for nominating me!
The rules:
Answer the 11 questions that you have been asked.
Nominate 11 other bloggers.
Ask your nominees 11 questions.
Let them know you nominated them.

1.       If you could get any two characters from any two books and put them in a relationship/friendship who would they be?
I would love to put Sydney from Vicious by V. E. Schwab and Yelena from The Chronicles of Ixia series together as I feel like they have a lot in common and would be good friends.

2.       Favourite song at the moment?
I don’t think I have one favourite song at the moment but I have been listening to some songs from past decades lately!
3.       What’s your spirit animal?
I did the same quiz that Chloe did and also received a deer. It was an interesting result!

4.       Any advice for people thinking of starting a book blog?
Do it! Just start and see how you feel.

Sunshine Blogger Award/ Q&A

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So, I have already been nominated for this award: see post here. However, another lovely blogger nominated me again! I decided that I would like to answer her questions anyway so here is a mini Q&A.
1.       What is your dream job?
My dream job is to be a full time blogger and author.

2.       What do you think your life will be like in a year? And in ten years?
This is a difficult question because you never know what is going to happen! In a year, I hope to be earning something from my blog, to still be reading a lot and to be working on a creative writing project that I love and will finish. In ten years, I hope to have my dream house and be a published author.

3.       What is your proudest achievement?
The first thing that comes to mind is my degree. I worked so hard to do well and despite feeling bad mentally and physically, I got to the end and received a 2.1.

4.       What is your favourite blog post you’ve ever written?
I think my favourite would be How Anxiety and Depression Can Affect Reading and Writing because I expressed some raw things that I have struggled with and people who related to that felt like they could reach out and talk about it too. One of my main aims in life is to help people and I hope that in a small way this blog does that.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder Book Review

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Trigger Warnings: abuse, rape, torture, murder

Poison Study follows Yelena, who is awaiting execution after killing a man. However, she is given the opportunity to become the poison taster for the commander, who is in charge of the country. I do not want to tell you too much of the plot because I loved unravelling it myself. This book features action, betrayal, heartbreak, magic, friendship, love, court politics and independence. If you love fantasy/action and romance, you need to read this book.

The only negative comments I have are that the chapters were quite long and that sometimes I had worked out what was happening and I was shouting at the characters to work it out and do something. However, I am now thankful that the chapters were so long because there were so many strands to this story and Maria V. Snyder built them up perfectly to overlap at the right time.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Things that help me relax

I have anxiety so I don’t often feel relaxed. I am working on improving my anxiety but there are a few things that I have found helpful when I am feeling tense:
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1.    Walks
       Sometimes I feel like I can’t think straight, I cannot decide what needs to be done and when I should do it so I find that going for a walk, even just fifteen minutes actually does help to create mental clarity. By the time I come back from the walk, I have a plan or at least know what I am doing next.

2.    Music
       I have recently started listening to music again. I use Spotify and just put on a playlist or a particular song that I feel like listening to whilst I do other things. I find that after a while I can be singing along and feeling a bit better.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Writing Strategy

My last writing post was about getting back to writing my novel after taking a break. I said that I wanted to write when I wanted to write. I still do, if I start to feel stressed about the prospect of writing, I will change what I am doing. However, I would like to finish at least a first draft this year if possible so I am going to look at different strategies that I could use, here (inspired by my current read, Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder):


Strategy 1: Counting Words
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One method of making writing progress is to create a word count deadline, either daily, weekly, monthly or bimonthly. I have tried daily/weekly and monthly only once when I participated in NaNoWriMo. Daily/ weekly caused too much stress. If I did not reach my word count (which was often), I would feel terrible and I would stress about trying to catch up or having to write a certain amount of words the next day. Monthly did not really work either: I wrote probably more than I would have normally but I was far off the 50,000 word count goal and lost steam after a while. Bimonthly is an option: I know of at least one author who uses this method. It would be less stressful than having a daily goal and it would be quite lenient, especially if I didn’t set it too high. However, the impending goal could be stressful. Then comes another problem, deciding on what the word count should be.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Getting Back to Writing


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I have wanted to be a published author for almost as long as I can remember. I have been writing potential books for years, first during school and then a smaller amount during university. When I finished university, I said to myself that I would dedicate most of my time and energy to finishing a novel and trying to get it published. Mental health issues and work interfered. Again, I tried but I found myself feeling stressed and anxious about having to write the next day and reaching a certain word count. I tried different ways of measuring progress: word count, time spent on writing and just writing anything but nothing stuck. Then I realised: writing is meant to be fun, yes, it is hard work but I don’t want to be spending my time feeling stressed and anxious about something that I am supposed to love. So, I took a break. I ended up starting this blog which I absolutely love and I believe that it is one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Guest Series: Writing About Mental Health and Cancer Survivorship by Sam Rose


Today's guest post is by writer Sam Rose, an amazing woman who has survived cancer and blogs about her experience. Here is her post:

Writing About Mental Health and Cancer Survivorship

While I was making notes on how I might approach writing this blog post, I jotted down “talk about writing in the context of dealing with cancer survivorship”. But the truth is, these days I find myself writing about little else. Cancer has had a huge effect on my body, my mental health, and subsequently my creative work.

I had colon cancer in 2010 when I was 22. The offending organ was whipped out but since then I have had yearly screenings and check-ups, as well as a handful of scares and other unrelated health issues to worry about – all fear-inducing, but luckily leading to nothing sinister so far. When these things happen (or even when they don’t), it can really take its toll on my emotional state. Over the last seven years I’ve dealt with varying degrees of nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and poor self-confidence.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Children's Poem: Monster Under the Bed?

Monster, monster
Who is it that is lurking there?
Has under my bed become your lair?
Is it my imagination?
Are you really there?
Did you come to give me a scare?
Or act as my new teddy bear?
Monster, monster
Are you now under the stairs?
Who else would create those creaks?
Is it old wood
Or are you not good?
Do you just want a friend
With no other way to communicate

Monster, monster
What are you doing here?
Are you lost
Or banished?
Do you come from far or near?
Did you seek to travel
To discover new worlds?
Or come out from the shadows
To wreak havoc
Hide my things
Give me spots
And even bad thoughts?

Or did you hear my fears
And found yourself here?
Monster, monster
Why did you come here?
I hope one day, I will get near
Or is it my imagination
And you will disappear
Monster, monster
I think I wish that you were here 

Sunday, 11 February 2018

I Have Been Nominated for The Sunshine Award 2018!

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I cannot believe that I am writing this post. The wonderful Kate Carter at thetustingirl.com nominated me for the Sunshine Award 2018! Thank you so much to her for nominating me and for all of my readers for visiting and commenting on my blog. I have discovered that I love blogging and I really hope that people are finding my posts helpful.  There are 4 rules to follow for this nomination:
1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you for the blog post and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions that the blogger asked you.
3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 questions.
4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or blog.
So, here are my answers to Kate’s questions:
1.       Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog because I originally had a bookstagram and then a booktube. I discovered book blogging and fell in love. I have always been passionate about writing and I had tried blogging in the past. Writing and reading are two central parts of my life and as I began writing my blog I found a passion for writing about mental health and I was encouraged to post my own creative writing too. Blogging makes me so happy and I am so grateful for all the amazing, friendly and supportive people that I have found because of it.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Children's Poem: Sleepy Mouse

Sleepy mouse
Slick fur
Tiny eyelids
Whiskers like a cat
Soft-looking like a mat
Sleeping in a shoe
Barely worn
I just want to give you a miniscule hat
I wonder how you got there
Where did you come from?
I bet you would like to stay for tea
But, oh, are you afraid?
Did we hurt you back one day long ago?
Sleepy mouse
Do you have a house
To go to?
Do you have loved ones missing you?
Did you arrive for scraps to take home?
When will you return to give them some?
Why that shoe?
And
Why this house?
Oh, sleepy mouse
Did you know that this was my house?

-Lucy Ann Smith

Friday, 9 February 2018

Guest Series: Mental Health & Creativity. Thoughts on my Anxiety by Book Blogger Jen

Hello everyone, it is time for another guest post in the guest series: mental health & creativity. Today, we have another brave individual who has decided to share her story. I relate so much to a lot of the points that she makes and she is definitely not alone. I will leave her links below so feel free to check her out. She is a wonderful book blogger. So, here is Jen's story.

Thoughts on my anxiety.


How much can you blame anxiety for? Can I blame it for the lack of writing I’ve done over the years? Or more accurately, that all I have to show for my ambition is many unfinished stories and novels. Someone could say that I was lazy. I could blame an over enthusiastic inner critic or a lack of self belief. But when anxiety and worry creeps into your mind you can’t concentrate on anything else. You can’t switch off and get into your story world and even when it eases, your mind is so tired that trying to do anything actually makes you feel anxious again. In the past it has been bad, I think it’s better now although some days when it comes back it feels like this is a lie and that I haven’t managed to deal with my anxiety at all. (When it comes back, I’ve just realised what I wrote, it never goes away, it’s there daily but I’m so used to it and there are times when it’s very bad.)

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Poem: Dreamer’s Land

I long to hear the rolling waves

To feel the sand between my toes

And to have my loved ones close

To see the water

Glisten in the sun

And eat a delicious hot cross bun

To buy an ice cream

And experience the breeze

To sit in the sun

Feel the lapping sea

On my skin

To feel like it is impossible

Not to dream

To sense the vastness of the world out there

To feel like I’m without a care

To gain inspiration

And walk across the sand

For then I’d be on dreamer’s land

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

All of the Books on my TBR

This is probably one of the most difficult blog posts for a book blogger to display but I am not perfect. I am on a journey to read all of the amazing books out there: to explore new worlds, characters and plots and to hopefully improve my writing skills along the way. I have categorised all of my unread books by genre. So, here is a list of all of the unread books that I currently own:

Manga

books to read, book recommendations, unread books, bookshelf, tbr books, book blog, book blogger,Blue Exorcist volume 3 by Kazue Kato

Fullmetal Alchemist volumes 5 and 6 by Hiromu Arakawa

Fairy Tail volumes 1 & 2 by Hiro Mashima

One Piece volumes 1-3 by Eiichiro Oda

Tegami Bachi volumes 1-5 by Hiroyuki Asada

Seraph of the End volume 1 written by Takaya Kagami and illustrated by Yamato Yamamato

All You Need Is Kill written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka with illustrations by Yoshitoshi ABe

Tokyo Mew Mew volumes 1-6 written by Reiko Yoshida and illustrated by Mia Ikumi

Death Note Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases by Nisio Isin (a novel based on the manga)

Monday, 5 February 2018

My Stomach Hurts: Living with IBS

Alongside my mental health conditions, I also have IBS. IBS is a digestive condition which can be related to anxiety and depression. It can also be caused by eating certain foods that your body does not agree with, these are called triggers. IBS produces a variety of symptoms, including stomach pain. There are times when IBS symptoms can become worse, these are called flares. My IBS can flare when I’m stressed or anxious. I wanted to talk about this because lately my stomach has been hurting a lot. If you have any symptoms, please visit your doctor.

Sometimes, it feels like having a constant stomach bug. Other times, like continuous cramps. I don’t always have symptoms but I do usually get them after meals, especially dinner and when I’m trying to sleep. When I flare, I can feel ill all of the time, or most of it.

Feeling ill makes it difficult to do things sometimes. It makes me anxious about eating out in case I get symptoms. I have to take painkillers and IBS medication with me when I go out to see friends. Sometimes, it’s fine and does not really bother me. Other times, it’s just horrible. However, I know that there are worse things and I love my life, I feel very grateful for everything I have and I know that not feeling very well will pass. I know that if I keep doing things that make me anxious and try to work on improving my mental health, things will get better, even if I feel 1% better for a little while, it will still be worth it.

My current mental health plan is to try to get into exercising more regularly and I will be posting updates on here about my progress. I am also trying to relax more and that includes blogging, potentially as a job. I am so glad that I started this blog and I am so thankful for all of the interaction that I have received from other people so far.

Do you have IBS? How do you deal with it?

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Series I Need to Finish/ Series Crackdown TBR

Series Crackdown is a readathon between 9th-18thFebruary where readers can attempt to finish their unread or unfinished book series’ on their shelves. So, here is a list of all the completed series I have on my shelves that I either have not read or that I have not finished yet:

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I think that it is best to go into the first book in this series not knowing much so here is a brief synopsis: this series follows the perspective of a male teenager who wishes to escape his small town. He meets a girl that changes everything. She is cursed.
I have read the first two books in this series (there are four altogether) and I remember really enjoying them and reading them very quickly. However, it was a long time ago so I am interested to see if I still feel the same. I did have some issues with the female protagonist in the second book but the other characters were likeable and the storyline was still intriguing. The stakes seemed to increase in the sequel. Once I finish this series, I can start reading the spin off series.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Guest Series: Mental Health & Creativity. A Writer Comes to Terms with Grief by Rosanna Leo

Hello everyone, I decided to start a guest series for people to talk about how their mental health affects their creative work and life and how they deal with it. Mental health is a topic that is close to my heart, and so is creativity. By doing this, I hope that some people will find comfort in the words of others as I have done so before and still do. I am so grateful to everyone who has offered to write for this series so far.

guest post, dealing with grief, writing when you are grieving, mental health post, how writing can help with grief,Our first guest writer is Rosanna Leo, a multi-published author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Winner of the Reader’s Choice 2015 in Paranormal Romance at The Romance Reviews, Rosanna draws on her love of mythology for her books on Greek gods, selkies and shape shifters.

From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her long-suffering husband, their two hungry sons and a tabby cat named Sweetie. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair.

A library employee by day, she is honored to be a member of the league of naughty librarians who also happen to write romance. Please find her social media links at the end of the post.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

The Dating Debate by Chris Cannon Review

Title: The Dating Debate
Author: Chris Cannon
Publication Date: 2018
Genres: YA, Romance, Contemporary
Number of pages: 242

The Dating Debate follows two teenage perspectives; Nina and West. Nina is an argumentative bookworm and West is the attractive, mysterious boy next door. I was not sure what I would think of this book but let me tell you, I absolutely loved it. Here’s why:

1. Nina was an interesting, yet familiar protagonist: Nina was a likeable character with a love of books and chocolate. She had a good relationship with her mother, brother, dog and best friend. She was a funny, strong and confident female character who was not perfect (she had her insecurities) which was excellent because human beings are not perfect. Additionally, I loved reading the banter between her and West.