Health

Healthy Changes I’m making…

If you have read my recent goals posts, you will know that I have been trying to make some pretty simple changes that I am hoping will make all the difference when it comes to the Winter. For many years now I have found Winter to be a tough month for me, with the change in the weather I find comes pain, fatigue and generally poor health.

Now its quite common for the colder months of the year to bring drops in vitamin levels and many other challenges for those who already struggle with their health, and I am no different. Almost every year I end up with very low levels of vitamins C and D, and my immune system as a whole takes a hit. So as you can expect, this means that I end up catching every little cold, bug and flu that goes around.

On top of this, winter and cold wet weather in general plays up my fibromyalgia something crazy. Any one with pain syndromes will probably know what I mean by this, me and my Nan always sympathise with each other as arthritis is also heavily effected by the weather. So this year I am trying to come up with some ways to make this have less effect on me. Last winter I have several days if not weeks where I couldn’t even get myself out of bed due to pain levels, and I refuse to let this happen again.

To overcome the pain, I have started doing a very simple routine of yoga each day. Just 10 minutes of yoga every day I am hoping will keep my muscles well stretched and hopefully put me in a good position that the cold doesn’t leave my muscle super crampy and sore. I know that when I was younger, the more active I stayed the less pain I would feel; although this was before my fibro, I’m thinking that the same effect should happen.img_1005.jpg

Although I know it will have little to no physical effect, I have also started doing 5 minutes of meditation each day. I am finding that this is helping to make me aware of what my body is feeling, and whether I am having a bit of a flare. The difference this has compared to without the meditation, is I am not only aware of whether my body hurts, but also helps me to think of the reasons for this and therefore deal with them. I will definitely be keeping this up.img_1009
All the other changes have purely been through choosing healthier food options. I’ve switched to eating a lot more fruit which will hopefully help to keep my vitamin levels stable, as well as having discovered these Porridge on the Go bars. I adore the golden syrup flavour, they just taste like flapjacks, but they are healthy. For breakfasts I’ve been having smoothies with the porridge and have cut caffeine out of my days. Finally I have increased my water intake by at least an extra litre.img_1010

So that’s my changes so far, I’ll be sharing the apps I’m using to help me with theses in a later blog post. Have you made any changes to your daily habits ready for the winter?

Lifestyle

October 18 Goals

For some reason I really liked having my goals set out last month, so I thought this month I would let you know how I got on as well as letting you know of the new goals I’ve set myself. So quickly before looking back at my goals for September, I just want to say that I have felt like I have had a really good month. Despite being pretty run down and not feeling great emotionally or physically, I feel like I got a good amount of what I wanted to do done; I feel like I’ve had a very productive month.img_0341-3

Now into the facts of how I got on in September. My first set of goals were all to do with the blog and my social media, I wanted to hit 200 wordpress followers, hit 1.4k views and reach 1000 twitter followers.

In actual fact I reached 152 wordpress followers, which although it not the goal, it is an increase of 33. This is still good in my eyes as am aware that I lost my rhythm with promotion work. I smashed the 1.4k views goal, getting a total of 1479 views; honestly don’t think I could be happier with this. And finally, I reached 939 followers on twitter. I will admit I am quite annoyed about this one, but I am also perfectly aware as to why it happened; plus its still a 89 increase.

So now for my hopes for October. Due to still not feeling overly well I want to keep these reasonably simple and doable. Therefore I am going to be aiming for hitting 200 wordpress followers, and 1000 twitter followers again. But as I smashed my views goal, I am going to up that again to 1.6k views over the month. I have another good month of varied content so I am confident that I can do this.

On another note, my personal goals for September were really rather vague, but I truly feel like I have done the best I possibly could for this one. I’m really happy with the healthy choices I have been making and feel like these are great foundations for helping me over the winter. In the next few weeks I will be doing a post all about the changes I have made with my tips to make it simple and straightforward.

For October my goals are once again all based around one thing, this month its study. As of yesterday I am now back at uni, well still at home, but I’m studying. So this month my main goal is to develop a simple, effective, low stress study routine. I want to stay on top of my study, or possibly even get ahead of myself. I’m actually pretty excited about getting back into it, so hoping that if I can get myself into a routine now, then it will continue throughout the whole year.

Have you set yourself any goals for October? I would love to here what you are hoping to achieve.

 

Books

SeptReads & October TBR

Its that time of the month again where I have to confess about just how much I have diverted from my TBR; or as has been happening a lot lately, just how little I have actually read. September was the Emojiathon and I had had every intention to take part, however life got a big carried away again so I only managed to finish two books. But, as I say a lot, October will be different. Though saying that, I really need to get working on my study again.

So lets start with September, I read two books, although the first one I had mostly read in August; that book was Dance of Thieves by Mary E Pearson. As I think I have said often enough lately, I absolutely adored this book, I truly can not wait for the next book in this series. You can see my full review here.The second and final book I read last month was In Her Bones by Kate Moretti. I was introduced to Kate Moretti by the lovely Titan Books and I have absolutely loved everything I have read from her. So much so that I have decided to do a reread of her second book Blackbird Season this month, which I am very excited for. You can see my full review here. img_1011.jpg

Now into my other TBR books for this month. My first and current read is Strange Ink by Gary Kemble. This is a horror mystery novel that currently I am absolutely adoring. Next week I will have an extract from the book up on my blog as part of the book blog tour that Titan is running. So from Monday keep your eyes open! My review will follow later in the month.thumbnail_StrangeInkBannerFor some reason I still have three other books on my TBR, why I think thats a good idea I do not know as I have not read five books in one month for a very long time. But ha ho, I will try my best.

Rounding up the thrillers on this list I will be reading Half Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante. I took part in the blog tour for this novel just a few weeks ago, and reading all the other posts in the tour has left me knowing that I have to pick it up sooner rather than later. So that is exactly what I am going to do, and October just seems like that perfect time for thrillers and horrors.img_1012.jpg

This next book I have been meaning to read for a long while now, and now that I have had the privilege of being sent the second books for review I really need to get around to it. That book is Pendragon by James Wilde, all I know is that its based around Arthurian legend, but I don’t know if its fantasy or just based on the legendry stories, but either way I am really excited to read this series.img_1014.jpg

The last and final book on my TBR for this month is Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. My copy is illustrated by Chris Riddell as well so I am super excited to get into this. It just feels like its a good October autumn read as I am led to believe that it has a bit of a spooky vibe.

So that’s the plan for this month, but we will have to wait and see how things go and just how much I manage to get through. I’m hopeful but realistic.

What are you reading this month?

Books

In her Bones by Kate Moretti

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the chillingly good thriller novel, In Her Bones by Kate Moretti. If you’ve been around here for a while then you will know how much I absolutely adore Kate Moretti’s thriller novels. They are always full of unexpected twists and turns, strong gutsy characters, and a back story you can get emotionally involved with; In Her Bones was no difference. You can see my review for her debut novel here.I hope you’ve been enjoying the In Her Bones blog tour, I have had the privileged opportunity to read this fabulous novel before its release today (so what are you waiting for, go and grab your copy now), and am going to share my initial thoughts and feelings with you now.

Earlier today I read the final 70 pages of this book and have to admit, I think I am still processing my full thoughts on it. Never at all did I expect the resolution that this book gave me. Normally I am alright at spotting last minute twists but I cant say that I ever saw this one coming. Here’s the description off of GoodReads for you..

Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested for the brutal murder of six women. After a death row conviction and media frenzy, her thirty-year-old daughter Edie is a recovering alcoholic with a deadend city job, just trying to survive out of the spotlight.
Edie also has a disturbing secret: a growing obsession with the families of Lilith’s victims. She’s desperate to discover how they’ve managed—or failed—to move on, and whether they’ve fared better than her. She’s been careful to keep her distance, until the day one of them is found murdered and she quickly becomes the prime suspect. Edie remembers nothing of the night of the death, and must get to the truth before the police—or the real killer—find her.

The link between the modern day and flash backs to her childhood were told so beautifully and so well that not once was I confused as to the relevance, each and every scene had its clear purpose towards adding information to the case for you to puzzle about as you read.

I almost want to read the book in the novel in its eternity; throughout the novel it has excerpt from a true crime book all about the events of the first series of murders, these added information to help you try and predict what was going on. Now I will admit, I have a bad habit of when I’m reading thrillers, I spend nearly the whole time trying to piece it all together and work out what’s going on before we get there. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing but its how I enjoy reading thrillers. That’s exactly why I loved these excerpts as it gave me extra information to understand Edie’s past. I would really not complain If this became I full length book, of course fiction, but I found Lillith Wade’s story really fascinating.

Once again, I adored Edie’s character. Kate Moretti writes such strong, independent, and completely feisty female protagonists. I find them so aspiring in their own ways. With Edie, having overcome such struggles through her childhood, and then the shadow of mental heath struggles, she always kept her head. She always had a clear cut focus as to what she needed to do to regain her freedom, and she let nothing get in her way. This is a true representation to a woman who knows how to handle herself, but also knows when to ask for help. I wont go into it too much, but Edie and Tim- PERFECTION!

This was an easy 4 star read if not edging on 5 star. If I were you I truly would get your hands on In Her Bones, or to be fair any of Kate Moretti’s books. I can see a reread coming in the near future, so keep you eyes open. Hope you enjoy the rest of the blog tour for this absolutely amazing edge of your seat thriller.

Health

The Difference between feeling alone and being lonely…

This last few weeks, I have been having a really tough time. Mental health is one of those unpredictable things that can just sneak up on you when you are least expect it, when everything seems to be going well. But, as has happened to me, you can believe that you are getting everything in order, prepared to start studying for your degree again, and then BAMM, anxiety depression and general mental health troubles hit you.img_0341-3

I have been trying to explain for a little while now what I’ve been meaning when saying I feel really alone at the moment. Often I get the response of, but you always have company, or just go see different people then. But feeling alone has no relation to how much you are interacting, it doesn’t matter if you are by yourself all day, or if you are in a huge crowd of your favourite people.

Being lonely is something everyone experiences at some point or another. Being home alone, walking to work, or just driving around in your car. Its a feeling that is always nice to have every now and again, time to just stop and unwind, take time for yourself, not having to worry about anyone else.

But feeling alone is an emotional feeling, its a state of mind not presence. You feel alone when you look at all those around you and realise that things go on without you; feeling as if no one would notice if you were to disappear.

Almost two years ago my parents split up, there has been loads of tension and complicated issues between me and some family members ever since. For some reason the other weekend it got me thinking; my mum has a new partner whom has a child, they often seem to go out and about. My Dad also has a new partner with children, and again they often go out and do ‘family’ activities. This got me thinking, I am the one who no longer has ‘family time’.

By no means am I wishing they weren’t happy; I am really glad that they have both found people they can be happy with, and I would not deny them a single moment of that. But when I’m stuck in not doing anything all day, and I get told they’ve taken the kids to go bowling, I cant help but think, why not invite me? Its as if as an adult child, its not thought you include me in ‘family time’.

See so this is the difference, feeling alone is a state of emotion where you don’t feel like anyone can understand. You feel that you have no purpose in the world, and sometimes that no one really cares.

Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means accusing anyone of anything. I just felt that it needed explaining, I know that when my anxiety flares that feeling alone is a common demon. There has to be other people that experience this feeling? I would love to hear from you, talking about it may help us all to realise we are not alone.

Books

Why We’re Gobbling Up Thrillers- guest post by Alice LaPlante

Thrillers are king of the publishing world right now. Or should I say queen, since so many of them are written by, about, and for women?

In 2017, 18.7 million crime and thriller books were sold, up 19% since 2015. General and literary fiction titles, which for the last two decades dominated the market, slipped into second place with just 18.1 million copies.Women are propelling this wave, having bought 53% of crime and thriller books in the last 12 months, according to Nielsen BookScan.

I think there’s a reason for this.

I don’t have to tell you that the world is in disarray right now. No matter which side of the Atlantic you hail from—or where on the political spectrum you fall—powerful emotions are engaged. I think people are reading thrillers and crime novels for the same reason they’ve driven Bob Woodward’s Fear and Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century to the top of international bestseller lists: they’re trying to make sense of the chaos around us.

But in a different way.

Nonfiction satisfies our need to try and get the facts—okay, who laughed?—straight.

Thrillers satisfy emotional requirements that are more primal.

Why thrillers and crime? Why not comedy? Romance novels? Why are today’s reader’s dying (ahem) to escape to such dark places?

Because, boy, are they dark. Characters, mostly women, are being threatened by horrific fates. Kidnapping. Rape. Dismemberment. Torture. Abuse. Why?

As a writer of gloomy thrillers myself (reviewers like to call my work “dark and quirky”), I can tell you from a writer’s point of view that it can be extremely cathartic to get these stories and images out on paper. Yes, I’m often asked by readers (and friends and family): how can you spend so much time in these horrific worlds? But it doesn’t feel that way to me.

I can’t speak for other writers, but for me, it’s all about giving physical shape to some of the nameless terrors I have. Don’t get me wrong. My fiction is fiction. It’s all

made up. But it comes from a deeply emotional part of me that I only have access to when I’m writing, and that part of me is apparently terrified.

I believe the same is true of a lot of readers. They want to escape the very real horrors that face us—terrorism, hatred, violence, intolerance, a dying planet…you name it. Yet some things are too difficult to look in the face. And so we escape into thrillers and crime because the fears there are containable—and, if not fixable, at least solvable.

Readers might not be able to face the truth of what’s happening in the real world any better after putting down one of these thrillers. But at least someone has captured a kind of kissing cousin to the fear in their hearts and manifested it on the page in a way that makes it safer. Because—in most cases—the protagonist prevails. That’s one of the tropes of this genre. She (it’s increasingly a she) gets to win. And face it, as women, we’re not doing a lot of winning these days.

The anger among us is growing. I would say that reading these thrillers helps make that okay. We get role models for righteous anger and—for us women—brave and unfeminine behavior that we need right now.

If I’m right about this, sales of thrillers and crime novels are only going to continue rising. After all, every epoch gets the art it needs to survive. As it turns out, my next novel is a black comedy. What does that mean? I don’t know. Ask my shrink. I’m only the writer.

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Books

Lying and Dying Blog Tour – An extract

Its that time again, its Blog tour time! I’m super excited to bring to you an extract from Graham Brack’s latest book, Lying and Dying. Here’s a little bit about the author…thumbnail_GBforSapere

Graham Brack hails from Sunderland and met his wife Gillian in Aberdeen where they were both studying pharmacy. After their degrees Gillian returned to Cornwall and Graham followed. This is now called stalking but in 1978 it was termed “romantic”. They have two children, Andrew and Hannah, and two grandchildren, Miranda and Sophie.

Graham’s foray into crime writing began in 2010 when he entered the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger competition and was highly commended for The Outrageous Behaviour of Left-Handed Dwarves (reissued as Lying and Dying), in which the world was introduced to Lt Josef Slonský of the Czech police. The Book of Slaughter and Forgetting (reissued as Slaughter and Forgetting) followed and Sapere Books have published book three, Death On Duty,

In 2014 and 2016 Graham was shortlisted for the Debut Dagger again. The earlier novel, The Allegory of Art and Science, is set in 17th century Delft and features the philosophy lecturer and reluctant detective Master Mercurius. Sapere Books will publish it as Death in Delft in 2018.

Twitter: @GrahamBrack

Now lets dive into the extract…thumbnail_LyingandDying
Continue reading “Lying and Dying Blog Tour – An extract”