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The Behind The Blogger Tag…

Wow it seems like so long since I’ve done a tag post, but now its looking like I will have a few coming for you in the next few weeks. This is a pretty exciting one as you will get an insight into me, myself and I. Not sure whether I’ve done this one before, but even if I have it has been a while, so worth doing it again..

Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you
Answer all the questions down below
Pingback to the creator: Ellyn @ Allonsythornraxx
Nominate 5+ bloggers you’d like to know more about, to do this tag

So lets get started…

Why Did You Start Blogging? & Why Have You Kept Blogging?

I started blogging initially because I was intrigued. I had read blogs for a while, and being home ill the majority of the time I thought it was a good idea of something to do to keep me busy- plus I had always loved writing. It has since continued as I just love to talk about things I am passionate about, hence why it is mostly books I talk about on my blog. It keeps me focused and feeling some what productive in my time at home, as there is a lot of it.

What Is Your Favorite Type of Blog Post to Write?

By my favourite blog posts to write are my TBR’s. I love getting to sit and look through my books deciding what it is that I want to read each month. I also enjoy my chatty posts about all sorts of different things. I find it very reliving to just write down all my thoughts sometimes.

What Are Your Top Three Favorite Blog Posts You Wrote?

The Many Adventures of our Houdini, Tigger…

Thoughts at the start of our Trying to Conceive journey….

Having a Chronic Illness and being in a relationship..

Not sure they are my favourite, but they are some of my favourites..

What Are Some of Your Favorite Things to Do to Relax?

Well the obvious one is reading! I find it to be one of the most relaxing things. Other than that I also love having long baths, and also will spend time with the animals if I need to relax, nothing better than fur baby snuggles- big or small.

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What Are Three of Your Favorite Things?

Coffee, Sims and Books… But there is so much more that I just could not live without. The list would go on…

What Are Your Proudest Blogging Moments?

This is really tough for me, as I’m not too sure I have a moment. I have not been as consistent with my blog over the years as I would liked. But one thing that wouldn’t of happened without my blog, is the first time I received a book from a publisher from the lovely Titan. I plan to really start working on the blog this year and hopefully start hitting some milestones that I can be proud of!

I actually have very little confidence in my blog, I do it for my own enjoyment as I adore writing, and love to just talk about all the things I love. I don’t plan on it ever getting too big, as I just enjoy it.

What Are Your Hobbies Outside of Blogging?

Reading really has to be my favourite thing. But my other recent hobby- sorry addiction- is Sims 4! I have literally been up until 2 am the last week playing! But I also love baking and cooking, I just find it really cool to take new recipes and adjust it to make it perfect for us.

Describe Your Personality in Three Words

Ummm…. Indecisive, Introverted, Creative… That’s such a hard question!

What Are Your Top Three Pet Peeves?

Ooo… I have so many! First has got to be lack of manners, people not picking up after their doggos, and anything Christmasy before December!

What’s Something Your Followers Don’t Know About You?

I used to be really into horse riding, I used to compete within Show Jumping, and was actually pretty decent at it. I had to stop because of my health issues, and just couldn’t keep up with it due to pain and fatigue levels. However I have every intention to get back to it in the future!

So that is every thing, I forgot how much I love doing tag posts.

Now I know I am meant to nominate five or more other bloggers to participate, but I am nominating everyone. If you see this and want to participate then go for it. Feel free to comment down below and I can edit and nominate you! Though I am going to specifically nominate Aimee over at aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk. So be sure to check out her blog!schizo

Books

May TBR ‘2020

April was another good month for reading, I am so happy that I seem to be getting myself back to reading. No I may not be reading as much as I once used to of, but life is different now, and I don’t have the time to just sit and read all the time quite like I used to. But completing more than one book in a month is a success to me, as that will keep me going towards my goal of reading 20 books within this year.

So what have I read this month? Two fabulous books!

Eden by Tim Lebbon has become one of my absolute favourite books now, it was just that good! A  dystopian that really doesn’t feel all that unlikely in the grand scheme of things, it was hauntingly dark, and so full of suspense! You can find out my full thought on it here.

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The other book I read this month is one of my most anticipated, a book from one of my favourite authors, Looking Glass by Christina Henry. This is a collection of novellas which are a sequel to the Alice Series. This was fabulous! Again, I have a full review that can be found here, but this was amazing, I just wish it was a full length novel, but that’s just because of my love of the world! 45860328._SY475_

So that leaves me with what I am hoping to read in the month of May. As I will still be shielding, I am hoping to get through at least three books, but it is throwing up some challenged with my partner and the little one being home a lot more.

The first book is of course my current read, The Wise Friend by Ramsey Campbell. This is a horror that I am reviewing, and is only a short read of just over 200 pages. This follows a man and his son as they dig into the artwork of his recently passed aunt. I don’t know much more than that and I am only about 20 pages in so far, but currently I am loving the writing style. 52880788

Im then hoping to jump into A Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman. This is the sequel to the Devouring Gray, a book that I read last year. Although the first one wasn’t the highest rated for me, it left me so excited for the next one because of how it built up ready for the series! I have a feeling that this series is going to be one that I love, with the first literally being just the beginning. This is a spooky paranormal, urban fantasy story, that I have a feeling is going to give me vibes from shows I used to watch as a teen!40204193._SY475_

Then finally, a book from last month that I didn’t get to, I really really want, actually need, to read The Queen of Raiders by Sarah Kozloff. I adored the first book in this series, and really want to marathon the rest of the series. Although my partner is making me wait till I have read this one to buy the last two, but I have the money put aside. This is a high fantasy series, about an orphan queen on the run! The first book was fantastic, I adored it! And I now cant wait to read the rest as I know it is going to be a favourite series in the end! 45046587

I am really looking forward to my reading this month, and I have Crescent City by Sarah J Maas, waiting to be picked up as well!44778083

So now, what are you hoping to read this month? Are you focusing on new releases, or picking up something you’ve been meaning to for a while?

Books

Looking Glass by Christina Henry

Back with another review today, and this time it is a book from one of my favourite authors, Christina Henry. I have loved her books since I first read Alice what feels like ages ago now, but the Alice world has stuck with me, ad I was so excited to jump into her new book set in this world!

Looking Glass is a collection of four short stories all set following on from the events in Red Queen.

In four new novellas, Christina Henry returns to the universe she created for Alice and Red Queen, where magic runs more freely than anyone suspects, but so do secrets and blood.  (from GoodReads)45860328._SY475_

Well what can I say? I loved it! But were we really expecting anything different?

I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars for one simple reason, it wasn’t a full novel! Now I may be being petty and, probably end up revising my rating, but I guess part of me just really wanted a full length novel in this world again! I miss it okay…..

IT surprised me as to which of the four was my favourite. I was always a huge fan of Alice so would of just thought I would soak up the stories with her as the lead, but in actual fact. ‘When I First Came to Town’ the story of how Hatcher started out was by far my favourite – dont get me wrong I loved all four! I had never seen the full depth that there was to his character, and just how he came to be with Hattie. From this alone I feel like I want more of their story, more of what happened after he rescued her. Probably going to have to go back and read Alice and Red Queen enough to satisfy my longing for this world!

There was a quote within ‘Girl in Amber’ that struck me, ‘ Life is never what you want it to be… only what it is’. Now I know that I am taking it out of context a touch, but that has stuck with me because of the relevence at this current time. I read this book while not being allowed out of the house, and at a time when everything in life is really up in the air. And I couldnt help but feel hit by that line, as it is so true. Life is what it is and you have to find your way in it.

But anyway that wasnt so much about the book, but just an example of how compelling I find Christina’s writing. I’ll read the words, and not only be drawn into the stories she weaves but also find truth in her writing generally! You can call me weird if you like, I probably am, but I have an obsession with Christina Henry’s writing and books!

Now have I gushed enough to convince her that you really have to go and read Alice, Red Queen and then Looking Glass? I hope so! I can promise you that it will not disappoint, you can go and read my review for Alice here.

This is already out so you really have no excuse. I would love to know if there are any other Christina Henry fans here? Which of her books has been your favourite?

Books

GIVEAWAY- The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman

I come to you today with a super exciting opportunity for you. You have the chance to win your own copy of The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman.

This is the sequel to the Devouring Gray, a book that I adored last year.40204193._SY475_

On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?

If this interests you then you definitely want to get your hands on the sequel, and you can read my full thoughts here, and even then I said about how excited I was for the Deck of Omens. My review of Deck of Omens will be up in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for that!

Now how can you win? Its easy, go over to my twitter @Alexxmarie74 , make sure you are following me, @TitanBooks and @Sarah_Mather_15 and retweet the tweet! It is really that easy!

This will run for 1 week, so entries will need to be in by midnight of Saturday 2nd of May, and I will draw the winner shortly after.

You do need to be within the UK, and there can only be one winner!

Good luck!

Books

April TBR ‘2020

Although I am now not posting this until mid way through the month, I thought I would still go ahead and let you see it.

This is going to be the first TBR in a little while where I don’t start off by saying I haven’t read anything! I actually had quite a successful month of reading, finishing off three books.

Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff, Wonderland and Cursed both edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane, are all really great reads. Between these three I like to think I am now out of my slump.

I have reviews for all these fabulous books that you can go read if you want to know my full thoughts, but I can briefly say that they were amazing!

Now onto my April Reads.

MY first book for the month was Eden by Tim Lebbon. I have already finished this one and wow was it brilliant. Again I already have a review up for this that you can go read, but this is certainly a book I recommend! Its now one of my favourites. 48639012

Next I am determined to pick up The Queen of Raiders and get back into this world! I loved the first book that I read last month, and I need to continue before I forget what happened. This fantasy series reminds me of all the reasons I love fantasy books as a genre, and was so close to perfection in the first book. I truly wish I had picked it up sooner, but still dont regret picking up Eden. 45046587

Then if I have the time, which I really hope I do as then I will be caught up with my reading goal, I want to pick Looking Glass by Christina Henry back up. I picked it up briefly last month, but for some reason decided to switch to reading Eden. Christina is one of my all time favourite authors, so I know that this book is going to be amazing! I loved Alice and Red Queen, so can not wait to get back into this world. The first couple of chapters I loved- I really don’t know why I put it down! 45860328._SY475_

I really am completely excited to read again for the first time in a very long time, and now other than spending time with my partner and step daughter, I truly do not have anything else to dedicate my time to.

I would love to know of any books that you recommend I pick up during this lockdown, I am lucky enough to have some vouchers so would love to get some of your recommendations to give a try. Please please please leave your suggestions below?

What are you reading this month?

 

 

 

Books

Eden by Tim Lebbon

I am back after a little bit of a break- there will be a post in the coming weeks explaining this little mini break, as I have been busy! But welcome to a review of what has possibly become one of my favourite books of all time.

A great big thank you to Titan for sending me this copy, this has been really not disappointed, and as Ive said, it is definitely up there with my all time favourites.

Now, I am going to be completely honest, I have a bit of a odd history with Tim Lebbon. I attempted to read his book Relics several times, and just couldn’t get into it, so I wasn’t having the biggest expectations going into Eden. Though the concept sounded so good that I felt I just had to give it an attempt, but now after how much I have loved Eden I am going to give Relics another try.48639012

In a time when Earth’s rising oceans contain enormous islands of refuse, the Amazon rainforest is all-but destroyed, and countless species edge towards extinction, the Virgin Zones were established in an attempt to combat the change. Off-limits to humanity and given back to nature, these thirteen vast areas of land were intended to become the lungs of the world.

Dylan leads a clandestine team of adventurers into Eden, the oldest of the Zones. Attracted by the challenges and dangers posed by the primal lands, extreme competitors seek to cross them with a minimum of equipment, depending only on their raw skills and courage. Not all survive.

Also in Dylan’s team is his daughter Jenn, and she carries a secret–Kat, his wife who abandoned them both years ago, has entered Eden ahead of them. Jenn is determined to find her mother, but neither she nor the rest of their tight-knit team are prepared for what confronts them. Nature has returned to Eden in an elemental, primeval way. And here, nature is no longer humanity’s friend.

Has that tempted you?

There are two things that I feel carry this book, the character and the descriptive setting.

Eden is described as such a beautiful but mysterious place, and the description is just that- beautiful. Its rare that I find a book where I can just sink in and be completely submerged in the setting. That being said at times this was a bit scary through the book, but thats the joy of great descriptive writing within a horror novel.

‘ final look at the body, the wild rose bush, its stem thick and green, its blooms lush and healthy. It was well fed.’

Now you may not understand the quote until you read the novel, but its just a great example of how the beauty of the writing is also so dark and twisted!

The relationships witihn this is are just so fascinating to see adapt to the situation and see progress through out the story. With a variety of different relationships, with parental, romantic, as well as distant past relationships and blooming new romantic. Looking at how a group of people with various relationships having to work together as one unit, would never be an easy situation, and this book perfectly sums up the tensions that can form.

Now although this is a horror, I didn’t feel like it was one of those that you have to make sure you keep the light on for. But rather it gave me more of a fear of being alone, and possibly a little of being out in the open.

Overall this book is just perfect! I don’t have a single bad thing to say about this one, as it is definitely now up there with some of my all time favourite books. Any horror, thriller or sci-fi fans really should give this a try, I think you will not be disappointed, it truly is a fantastic novel.  Easy FIVE STAR read!

My understanding is that the Kindle version is already available, however the physical will not be on sale until June now, but that gives you plenty of time to get your pre-order in.

 

Books

Cursed edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

Different from normal, I want to start this by just saying that I hope that you are all staying safe and well, and that you are all healthy in the current situation.

Now, I know this is the second short story collection for me to read this month, but they have been a real help to get me over my nearly year long reading slump! Having short little stories for me to dip in or out off, is perfect for getting back into reading. Although I think I am finally getting to the point where I want to pick up a novel.

But back to this book; I want to say a huge thank you to the lovely people at Titan for sending me a copy for review, I really do appreciate each and every book you send me. 48693975._SY475_

This whole book of short stories, are all around a theme of the dark side of fairy tales, and being a lover of fairy tales this just sounded perfect. There was definitely some in this one that I had not heard of before, so it was really refreshing for them to be predictable- to be fair even those I had heard of I didn’t even find to be predictable. I have added the Goodreads blurb for Cursed below for you to get an idea of what I mean by the premise.

Here in this book you’ll find unique twists on the fairy tale conceit of the curse, from the more traditional to the modern – giving us brand new mythologies as well as new approaches to well-loved fables. Some might shock you, some might make you laugh, but they will all impress you with their originality.

As with all short story books, there was some that I loved, and some that I could of left unread (one I actually moved on from after only a page or two). But I still stand by this doesnt mean those stories are not good, but rather that I do not get along with that authors writing style, or even just the way they wrote the story. To be fair I didn’t walk away from any of the stories thinking it was boring or uncomplete, but rather just overwhelmed through confusing writing style more than anything.

But thats enough negativity, as I really want to make the point that this is a fantastic collection of stories that I have really enjoyed. Even more so than previous short story collections that I have read.

By far my favourite of the stories was As Red as Blood, as White as Snow, but I am biased as it is written by one of my altime favourite authors, Christina Henry (to be fair I read the book because of knowing this story was in it!).

As with all Christina Henry stories, it was dark, and took a surprising twisted turn! It left me wanting more, but not in a bad way. In a way that I felt there was enough concept to make so much more out of this. Now this is no criticism for Christina, but rather a huge praise! Even when writing a short story, her writing just makes any story feel like it could go on for pages and pages and I’d happily sit and soak it all in!

The final story that stands out to me is Wendy, Darling by Christopher Golden. Having been a Peter Pan fan since a child, I was really hoping that there would be a take on this story within the collection, and it certainly did not disappoint. Although a lot of more deep and twisted than the story that is commonly known, this left me with a lump in my throat and a whole lot of thoughts and feelings. The thought of your actions haunting you like that, till they ultimately come back to bite you is definitely one to get anyone thinking. This has left me wanting to go and find other versions of Peter Pan, especially as they are going to be as dark as this, it was creepy, beautiful and oh so harrowing, and yet it was perfect!

All in all, this whole collection (bar a couple) is my favourite collection I think I have ever read, I do love short stories! For anyone who loves childhood fairy tales, or even horror stories, this is definitely one to give a try. I would say it is a good collection to read if you are new to short stories, as they dont all feel like a short story as they are all well rounded stories. I gave this a four star rating, as it was so close to perfect, but then I think it would be hard for a group of short stories written by various authors to be wholely perfect. There would always be an authors story that you don’t get along with. Hence why I think this is about as close as you could get to perfect for such a book!

I believe this is already out, so while we are all hunkered down in our homes, I definitely think you should give this one a try!!