Books

Strange Ink by Gary Kemble

Its been a while since I last sat and wrote a book review, but then is that really a surprise when you think that you have to read a book in order to review it? I will put my hands up and admit that in the past few months I have only read a tiny handful of books; its not something that I am proud of, but with the reading slump, and just generally more going on in life I have not been in the mood to sit and marathon through a book. Thankfully, it is now starting to change, and this book was one that definitely helped to get back on track with reading.img_1016

Described as a horror novel, this turned out to be a perfect Halloween read for me, spooky without scaring the living daylights out of me, and full of suspense and page gripping twists and turns.

When washed-up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes one morning with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out. But soon more tattoos appear: grisly, violent images which come accompanied by horrific nightmares – so he begins to dig deeper. Harry’s search leads him to a sinister disappearance, torment from beyond the grave, and a web of corruption and violence tangled with his own past. One way or another, he has to right the wrongs. (From Goodreads)

Now I may be a wuss when it comes to horror films, I can only watch them during the day and with all the lights on, but when it comes to horror novels, I am generally quite a bit better. Strange Ink however had me running to turn the light on, and gripping my duvet that little bit closer to feel safe. It was and odd sense of fear of not knowing what was going to be coming around the next corner, especially in the flashback chapters.

This book does flick back in flashbacks in the form of dreams, which I have to admit I thought were my favourite chapters, but it was at times a bit hard to follow.

Connecting the two different storylines, with the past couple and the present couple was very cleverly done, showing how they were taking on the other personalities while still sticking to themselves.

Not going to lie I was a little disappointed that they just lost these connections once the mystery was resolved. I feel like the events that happened would of left more of a mark on them; but I cant explain this much more without this become spoilery.

I would definitely say that this is a great read for any horror or psychological thriller fans; I read it over Halloween and I would say it was the perfect read.

Have you read this book yet? What did you think? If not, you should go and get yourself a copy.

Books

OctoberReads& November TBR

Well I feel like I am becoming a broken record, as once again I have had a terrible reading month, only managing to read one singular book. I really thought that I was having a good month when it started as I was loving the book and making decent progress, but the monster slump snuck itself back in mid way through. Though just like I’ve been saying for months, I am determined to make November the month that I defeat the reading slump! It has to happen!!

Beginning with October, the one and only book that I read was Strange Ink by Gary Kemble. A horror thriller that was full of twists and turns, it was definitely a fast paced read. You can read an extract from the book here at my stop on the blog tour; plus my full review will be live in the next couple of weeks. This was a clear four star read and I highly recommend it, it was the perfect read for Halloween. img_1016

Onto November, its going to be a good one, I can just feel it- plus my partner is having a lads weekend so I’ll have a weekend of peace for reading! Although as in October, I do have studying to do, but I feel like I’m getting the balance right now.

So the first book I will read, and have actually almost finished, is Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. A Chinese mythology inspired fantasy novel that is just such an easy and compelling read. Got to admit I only got it because it was in the October FairyLoot box, and previously I had not actually got any plans of buying this book otherwise. It just didn’t appeal to me, but when I saw it I just knew I had to pick it up. Without giving away too much, I am absolutely loving it.

Carrying from last month, I really want to pick up the Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti. I have loved everything that she has written, but I’m not sure if I have actually read this one. I feel like I have, but with my patchy memory of the last few years, has got me questioning. But either way this thriller will be a great speedy reread if I feel I need a fantasy break.

The final book I put on the TBR is Vox by Christina Dalcher, a sci-fi dystopian book centred around the idea that women can only say 100 words a day. I have been recommended it as I absolutely love The Handmaids Tale which I read several years ago. I bought this back in the summer, and its about time that I finally actually pick this one up.

I said that was the final book, but this month, I have actually brought back my Twitter Poll book; this is where I select three books from my shelf and let all you lovely people on Twitter choose which one I will pick up this month. The three books I put on the poll this month were, These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch, Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, and Everless by Sara Holland. It was a tight result between the final two, but it was Spinning Silver that won. I have meant to pick this up since I got sent the review copy several months ago, but with this slump I just have not been in the place to dive in. I will pick it up this month!

What are you planning to read this month?

Health

Apps helping me form Healthy Habits..

If you have been keeping up with my posts lately, you will know that I have been making some changes to my daily routines in order to help my health and hopefully try and prevent having a rough Winter. You can see what changes I have been making here, but this post is to let you know about the apps I have been using on my phone to try and help with this.schizo

There are three main apps that I will be talking about, two that are things to help me through some new habits, and the last is one to help me track a change I’ve made. I definitely have my favourite but that’s besides the point.

To track my water intake each day I am using My Water. Its a very simple free app on my phone that allows me to input each glass of water I drink, as well as Tea and Coffee. With tea and coffee, it also calculates the amount of caffeine, and although I have gone decaf, I find it interesting to see how much I would be having if I hadn’t. You can set an amount of water that you want to be consuming each day, and you can look back and see when you have hit the target and when you haven’t. There are also lots of fun little badges to try to earn, which I find just adds to the motivation. Like with most apps there is an option to pay a yearly amount and it will then open up the ability to track many many other drinks, such as fizzy drinks, milkshakes and alcohol. Personally, I have not done this, as I don’t see the need to. I know that I already drink plenty and am just interested in trying to increase my pure water intake.

This next one is one that I am still questioning just how useful it actually is, but never the less, I am giving it a try. That app is 7M Yoga, and if you cant guess from the name it has some premade yoga workouts that guide you through. It is great if you don’t really know what you are doing, as it has a little how to do it video for each move, and nothing is too complex. However there are only 3 workout, and all only about 10mins long. For me this just isn’t seeming to be quite enough, as I am looking for a workout that will be around 20-30 minutes. If you have any suggestions of where I can find something like this then please let me know.

Then finally, and yes this is my favourite, I am using Headspace to take some time each day to meditate. Headspace is full of hundreds of different guided meditations, some set out as ‘packs’, that are a set of meditations to be done on consecutive days, and also ‘singles’ that are for the one of varied emotions. I have been doing a couple of the packs, I started off on the Basics pack, which you can try out for free when you download the app. This just introduces you to some of the various techniques that the app uses, it is definitely a good place to start, and there are further basic packs that you can also dip into. If you subscribe as I have then it opens up a whole bunch more, and I have now started the Mindful Eating pack, hoping that this may help me to keep my focus on healthy eating over this winter. As for the singles, I am slowly just trying to do one a day, sometimes new ones, but just whatever feels relevant or me at the time.

So these are the three new apps that I am using in order to track my new healthy changes. I definitely feel like Headspace and ‘My Water’ are being of great help for me, I think I might need to find something else to help with the yoga, but for now the basic app is helping.

Do you have any health or wellbeing apps that you find helpful?

Lifestyle

November 18 Goals

Well as you very well may of noticed, October was not my month. I just got myself all messed up with studying, the blog, and just general life. I am now trying to make a conscious effort to get myself back on top of anything. For the next several months I do need to find a way to balance keeping the blog going while I am now back at studying towards my degree. img_0341-3So overall, I’m not really going to mention my blogging goals, as none of them have done well at all. You have to be consistent and dedicated in order to be successful within the blogging community; this month I certainly was anything but dedicated, and ended up actually walking away from the blog for a couple of weeks. But now I am back, and I am determined, I just need to keep myself together and be focused; keep my goal in view and push myself. For November, I am going to go easy on myself just to get myself back in the motion of things. My wordpress follower goal will be to hit 200 followers, and for Twitter I would like to get to the 1000 mark finally. Then for my overall blog views, I am going to go back to the goal of 1.4k as I smashed this in September. The whole idea for November is just to get through and get back to being consistent.

But I feel like it needs to be said that I will never expect much of myself in November, for me and my family its one of those months that we really struggle with. I might write more about this at a later point in the month.

With that being said I want to reiterate my October goal of getting myself into a routine for studying. I want to carry this over as it didn’t really happen this month, I have started to get into some good patterns, but I need to make it a bit more of a regular routine.

Finally, the only other goal, which is again something I’ve mentioned a few months ago, is to really focus myself on my meditation and yoga. Since the beginning of the month I have completely slipped with my yoga but that is mostly because of not being well. As for meditating it has become a bit hit and miss, and I truly think that I need to start fitting this into my routine more consistently.

Sorry for such a simple goals most this time around, but November is a tough month for me, and I am hoping to just get through without too many melt downs. If I get through this month smiling then I will be happy.

Do you have any goals for the month?

Books

Halcyon Blog Tour- An Extract

So I may of had a bit of a two week break, but I am back, and have the exciting privilege of sharing an extract from a new release from Titan and Rio Youers, Halcyon. I am very excited to pick this one up, and I think that after reading this you will be too. So continue reading to get a sample of this spooky new release, and make sure to catch the rest of the stops on this tour.. thumbnail_Halcyonblogtourbanner
Continue reading “Halcyon Blog Tour- An Extract”

Lifestyle

Thoughts before starting back at university

So a week ago I officially started back at university taking a third attempt at my second year. In case you weren’t aware, I study an open degree with the Open University, so I actually stay home while working towards my degree online. This year I will be working on a unit about childhood psychology, something I have been very interested in since college. If you want to read more about why this is my third attempt, you can see it here.

This time around I am actually quite excited to start studying again. With my partner working six days a week, I have a lot of time on my own, and while not driving, have little to do to amuse myself. Up until now, I’ve been throwing myself into my blog and content, but I am looking forward to have study to focus on and get my brain working that extra bit.

However I would be lying if I said I wasn’t even a tad bit nervous. My health has not been great lately, with me often having whole days where I am in pain and fatigued; last year this was a bit of an issue. Although I feel like I have a better way of managing it now, I am still concerned as to whether this will be enough or whether I may find keeping up hard work.

In addition having deadlines again is always a bit nerve wrecking. The closest thing to deadlines I have had over the past month were blog tours, but they are fun and find the deadlines to be very rarely stressful. Thankfully I have been able to carry the results for my first two essays of this unit across so that I only have to do another two. This will give me some time to revise over the content, and then dedicate my time on just the last two. Hopefully this should make the deadlines less stressful, I just have to keep myself organised and get ahead.

Finally, the overall feeling about going back to studying that I have is excitement. I am excited to be continuing on with my degree, and what the future may hold. Recently I’ve been looking through what units I may sign up to at a later date and there are many that I am really looking forward to.

So that is all I’ve been feeling about getting back to studying. Are you back at university this month?

Books

Strange Ink Blog Tour – An extract

Hello and welcome to another fabulous blog tour. Hopefully you have been following the stops and are already getting intrigued by this creepy horror read; I am currently reading it and am completely engrossed so my review is sure to be soon to follow. Now here is a little extract to tickle your fancy, and don’t forget to check out the next blog tour stop tomorrow.  Continue reading “Strange Ink Blog Tour – An extract”