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Fantasy recommendations 2018

Thought I would mix it up a bit as I haven’t been reading overly much lately, so this is going to be a post about my top five fantasy recommendations at the moment. These may not be my favourites, but they are books that have been on my mind lately that are really fabulous and deserve to be read.

I’ll start with one that I have been mentioning quite a bit lately as I only finished it earlier this month, and that would by Dance of Thieves by Mary E Pearson. To be fair I could so easily of chosen any of the books in the Remnant Chronicles as I adore every single one of those books, but as I recently finished this latest one of a new series I thought Id recommend this. Full of politics, intrigue, twists and turns, along with a nail biting romance, this is a must read for any and all fantasy fans. I would recommend reading the Remnant Chronicles before reading the Dance of Thieves though- guess I am recommending both then… Review for Kiss of Deception and Dance of Thieves can be found at the links.

One of my favourite books from last year, Darien by CF Iggulden is by far one of my favourite fantasy series lately. Although normally a historical fiction writer, it turns out that Iggulden is a fantastic epic fantasy writer. Empire of Salt is an amazing fantasy world struggling with the end of a bright age, with battling families fighting for the one throne and an unusual magic system its a really great and unique read. I am currently reading its sequel, Shiang. You can see my full review of Darien here.

Next is a duology that is a really creeping fantasy fairy tale retelling. Alice by Christina Henry, and the sequel Red Queen is a retelling of the much loved Alice in Wonderland. Its such a creepy take on the classic story with the idea that Alice is in a mental asylum following her return to the real world. Throughout the two books, she is hunted down by the evil characters that she met in Wonderland including the White Rabbit. These two books are both really short quick reads, but are certainly worth it; if I was you I would read these two back to back as you will not want to wait. Full review of both books can be found here.

Although I am yet to finish reading this series, from just the first two books I know that I will definitely be recommending it; The Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes is a young adult epic fantasy series. With a county split in three, tensions build between the leaders who want the very best for the citizens. Rare elemental magic, rebellion and court politics, I have loved both Falling Kingdoms and the second book Rebel Spring. Full review of Falling Kingdoms can be found here. 

img_0985The final book, or rather series, that I am recommending are actually novellas. Once again I have actually only read the first two books, but they are so fabulous that I know the others will be the same. That is the Wayward Children series, following children who have returned from their own fantasy worlds, now having to deal with being back to reality. The first one, Every Heart is a Doorway, is set in a school for these children, somewhere they can be with others who have had similar experiences. While the second, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, is the story of two of the children finding their way to their fantasy world and there experiences there. These books are a little creepy, but they really are fantastic.img_0981

So these are my fantasy recommendations for 2018. They are a mix of Young Adult and adult fantasy but they are all as good as each other. I will be doing a Science Fiction version of this, so let me know if there are any other genres you would like me to do recommendations for. Next year I will do this again but updated with all the new books I have read.

Do you have any fantasy books you would recommend? I’m always looking for new fantasy books to jump into..

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June and July Favourites – Summer Edition

So once again I am very late with writing this post; somehow I’m good at keeping note of the things I want to mention in these posts but I then put off writing them for some reason. Well summer seems like ages ago, but for some reason I’ve only just gotten into the mood for summery food; guess that’s just where I’m feeling a bit better. But anyway lets get into the things that I enjoyed at the height of summer.

One of the best things about the summer for me was the return of some of my favourite TV shows. Handmaids Tale  and Humans both launched their new seasons in June, and both were brilliant. I will admit, I have a few episodes of each to catch up on, so I will then do a full review of the series, would this be something you’d like to see?

Now every new season, I have to make a comment on my favourite costa drink, after all my partner does work there. Summer is always my favourite season for drinks, you just cant beat yummy cold coffee, and this year my favourite was easily Salted Caramel Crunch. Gorgeous cold coffee, with salted caramel syrup and crunchy sugar pieces. Okay, I will say, they are not the healthiest, but hey if you are going to treat yourself you may as well do it properly. Bit sad to see the summer menu leave now, and not too excited for any of the autumn ones.

While away for my partners birthday I started doing some reading again for my childhood psychology degree. I rediscovered my love of the psychology Freud, who had many theories on childhood development, relationships, and sexual orientation. For years, I have found his life and work highly interesting having first studied him at A-level, its great to get to analyse theories further now I’m doing psychology in my degree.  img_0919
This summer I loved some of the new music that came out, but as always I also listened to some that was new to me but not new out. I have done a post full of some of my favourite music from the summer that you can see here. But to narrow it down, I have been adoring everything by Halsey and Anne-Marie. I was meant to be seeing Ed Sheeran who had Anne-Marie opening for him, but was really disappointed that I ended up not being able to go because of being ill. I am planning on doing another post about music I love, would you be interested in this?
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Finally, over the summer I tried to increase my water intake, and one easy way of doing this is to introduce flavour to it. The favourite that I found is the Apple and Elderflower Volvic water. I already knew that I loved the Strawberry and the Lemon and Lime. The best part is its sugar free!So that’s just some of the things I’ve loved this summer, I will be getting out an autumn addition hopefully a but more on time.

What did you love this summer?

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Sunshine Blogger Award Nomination #2 2018

So you may notice that I did one of these posts quite recently, but as I have been nominated again I thought I might as well answer the new questions. You can see my first post for this from this year here.  

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The Sunshine Blogger Award is about recognizing bloggers for being positive, inspiring, and creative. This award is voted by bloggers to acknowledge their achievements and offer support.

What are the rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award?

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions which the blogger who nominated you asked.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers and ask them 11 different questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog site.

I will not be coming up with more questions nor nominating people, but if you want to take a look at my previous post about this, you will find the questions I  thought of then. Feel free to count yourself as nominated and tag me in your responses.

This time around I was nominated by the lovely Happily Amber After; you can find her post about the award here. Her blog is amazing, I really recommend checking it out.

Lets get into the questions…

Why did you start blogging?

I started my blog at a point in my life when I was very ill. To begin with it was purely for fun, but quickly developed into a way for me to talk about my struggles with disability.

How long have you been blogging for?

I started my blog in the October of 2015, so it will now be almost 3 years. Got to be honest, I have only really been dedicated to it this year though.

What is your favourite movie and why?

This is an easy one for me, my favourite film of all time for as long as I can remember is The Lion King. As for why, I honestly done know, I’ve just always loved it, now I just find it really comforting.

If you do anything, what would it be?

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a primary school teacher, but then more recently since finding out I’m unlikely to be able to work a set job, I’ve wanted to write. Problem is I just don’t have the confidence to do it.

Who is your favourite celebrity?

To be honest, I don’t have one; I’m really not one to follow celebrities.

Which blog post on your blog is your favourite to date?

My favourite style of blog posts to write are my bed rest diaries. I find these so fun plus it highlights just what its like to be on bed rest so often. But I think my favourites are probably my pet introductions, you can see Barney’s, the boys, and the princesses at these links.

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a blog?

Probably very similar to what I already do, just more reading, and maybe moving along with my degree a bit better.

Where would you like to travel to?

I know this will sound weird as it is dangerous, but I have always wanted to go to Russia. The history really fascinating, especially the revolution and the downfall of the monarchy.

What is your worst habit?

Not sure I can narrow it down to one, I have horrible habits of over thinking and putting scary things off. But that then makes me overthink more and then just get in a spiral of anxiety.

Who is your favourite recording artist?

Sia, easily Sia, Ive loved everything she has come out with these past few years. But I also love Halsey and Anne-Marie; you can see what I was listening to this summer here.

What do you love most about your blog?

The opportunities it has given me to work with some really amazing publishers and authors; not to mention the brilliant people I’ve got to meet along the journey.

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Dance of Thieves by Mary E Pearson

Back in February I marathoned the Remnant Chronicles books and absolutely loved them. Since then, I have been so excited for the release of Dance of Thieves which although a different series, is based in the same world. I have a bit of trouble getting my hands on a copy, as although I had two pre-orders for it, neither of them arrived on time – although now I have two, so yay!
When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.  

You can see my review of the first book in the Remnant Chronicles series, The Kiss of Deception, here.

I never thought I could love Dance of Thieves as much as I loved the Remnant Chronicles, but this somehow was on par if not better. Mary E Pearson has out done herself again. This book kicked off in full speed action which propelled me straight into the grips of the book; from there is was a struggle to put the book down.

Pearson is a queen in my eyes, I absolutely love this world with its history and magic. With these books you always know that there will be something that isn’t as it seems. At any point you know that there will be a twist and turn, not to mention that you always know that there will be a cliff hanger that has you in tears waiting for the next book.

The romance between Kazi and Jase is one that has you hoping for their happy ending, although however unexpected their relationship may be. Somehow with all the odds against, them you just have yourself hoping that things will work out.

How am I feeling about waiting a year for the next book? I don’t want to wait! To be honest, I don’t really know what it is that has me loving these books, but after reading all three of the Remnant chronicles in one month, I just never want to leave this world. Think I might have to do a reread Remnant Chronicles, would you be interested in a full series review?

This was an easy 5 star read for me, I honestly don’t think there was a single negative element to this book. Go read it, you will not regret it.

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Diary of a sleepless night…

When you live with multiple disabilities, all of which leave you hurting, drained and full of fatigue, you would think that sleep would be easy to come by. I spend almost all of my day nearly every day longing to be back in bed, exhausted and just longing for sleep. But when evening comes and I decide to call it a day, I’m normally faced with the inability to turn off, snuggle down, and generally just not able to sleep.

The night before I’m writing this was exactly one of those nights; nice dinner with my man, night in watching telly, and when I go to try and sleep, BING I’m wide awake. img_0341-2

If you have ever had insomnia, then you will know how frustrating this is. For the past few years I have been on medication in order to try and reduce my difficulty sleeping, I take them as soon as I’m going to try and sleep but they don’t always work. This always leaves me so frustrated as I have no focus to do anything but also cant get to sleep.

So last night, I took my pills, snuggled down to get some rest, and lay there for well over 40 minutes, just trying to turn off and go into a nice dream. I must admit that I had a headache most of last night, but that doesn’t normally effect me sleeping too much. But last night was a different matter; I was tossing and turning with no avail.

Now I often find if I get out of bed, and then back into bed that can help me. I don’t know how it works, but its as if it jolts my body into remembering its meant to be getting sleep. With Barney asking to go out and pee, I took myself downstairs, let him in the garden, turned the dishwasher off, got a glass of water and head back to bed.

That did not work though, when I got back into bed, I was welcomed with muscle cramp and restless limb syndrome in my wrists and legs. There is little that can be done when this happens, I tried to ignore it hoping I’d get to sleep, but when that failed I had a bath. Yes I had a bath at 2am, with bubbles and everything. Though it had absolutely no luck, I went back to bed to try to sleep for about another half hour, but it just was not happening.

So at 4am, I gave up hope of sleeping, got out of bed to go downstairs. With the recliner up, favourite blanket to hand and Garfield cartoons on the telly, I expected to just sit up until my partner woke up. Typically, about 5 thirty, I some how fell asleep; only for my partner to wake up at 7 wondering why I wasn’t in bed, which in turn woke me up. After explaining the night I’d had, I got back into bed to try and get back to sleep; on a good day I can sleep till midday, but law of sod means I only managed to get another 2 hours, waking up at 9.

Just in case its not clear, despite being exhausted and completely drained, I managed a grand total of 3 hours, very disturbed sleep. If this morning is anything to go by, it looks like I’m going to have no luck with napping this afternoon either.

Do you ever have sleeping issues? What do you do to try and overcome them?

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September 18 Goals

I’ve not done one of these posts in a very long time, and to be fair I’m not one to normally set myself goals due to the stress that I find it will generally cause me. However lately I have been loving seeing my blog grow and the satisfaction I’m feeling from being organised and proactive. So I thought it would make sense to just set myself some achievable goals to give me a focus this month. img_0341-3

I have three main goals for blog and socials, all which I feel will be achievable for me this month. The first is I would like to hit 200 wordpress followers. As of the end of August, I have 119 wordpress followers, and this has been rather stagnant for quite a while now. Lately I have found that follow sprees on Twitter are a fabulous way to find new bloggers to follow, and in turn to get my blog out there for new people to find.

Throughout the month of August I managed to reach just over 1.2k in views over all of my posts on the blog. Although this is a almost 0.3k up from July, I would really like to hit 1.4k in September. I have lots of new varied content planned, a blog tour, and just some new different pieces to add some variety to the blog. DSC_0193
The final goal for the blog and socials is to reach 1k followers on Twitter. Although I never really announced them, I had this same goal last month, but I lost track of it about mid month and you can never hit your goals if you don’t work towards them. As of the end of August I’m at just over 850 followers on Twitter, so 1k should be a super easy goal to meet if I keep with the progression I have been achieving.

Now I only have one rather broad goal in my personal life, and that is to start making healthier choices. With my Fibro and EDS I find that I struggle a lot in the winter months with pain and fatigue levels, and the only way I have found to make this a little easier to handle is to start making healthier choices sooner rather than later. So why not start now? I’m going to be switching up some of my habits, drinks and food choices so that my body and immune system are in the best position to get through what will ultimately be a challenging few months. I will write a post about the changes I’ll be making at a later date as I have some experimenting to do.

I also start university again very soon, so will have more goals to add soon I’m sure.

What are you hoping to achieve this September? Do you have any personal or blog related goals that you are confident about?

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AugustReads& SeptEmojiathon TBR 18

So what’s this? Month three of the reading slump? Well one things for sure, this is once again going to be a very short wrap up, hence combining it with my TBR again.

Throughout August I was reading Dance of Thieves by Mary E Pearson; I adore this book, I have absolutely no idea why I haven’t finished the final 50 pages. Well other than I’ve been ill, and had a wedding, holiday and general life stuff going on. But either way, its just not an excuse, I normally read loads more than this even when I’m busier.

So in September, despite one of my favourite readathons being held, I am going to try and be realistic with my aims. I need to prep for university starting again next month, and have a short getaway this weekend, but other than that I have a pretty free month.

With the many challenges of the Emojiathon (you can see the challenges and my options here), I decided to just choose the books from my options that I most want to read. I’m hoping that by doing this, I should hopefully fly through some books and get catching up with my Goodreads goal.
img_0961.jpgThe first book that I will most definitely be finishing is Dance of Thieves by Mary E Pearson; so far this is an easy 4 if not possibly a 5 star read for me- though I knew it would be. Honestly, I will not lie, other than my reading slump I don’t know why this book has not possibly been read several times over already.

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to do a reread of the Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman. I read this when I was in my mid teens, and loved it then; I’ve kept hold of the books for so long just knowing I would love to reread them.

Next is another gorgeous fairytale retelling, Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I received my copy for review- thank you TOR!!-and I just cant wait to jump into it. Only thing is, I don’t want to start it while I’m in a slump as I’m nervous it will make me love it slightly less. But we will see, maybe a fairy tale is exactly what I need to get me out of this.

The last and final book on my TBR is Lancelot by Giles Kristian. I bought this for myself straight after it came out, having intended to read it while on holiday back in July I believe. I love ancient historical fiction and Giles Kristian is one who has been on my radar for a while, just sadly I’ve never picked up one of his books. This will have to change.

Although those four books make up my TBR, the same day that this will be going up on my blog, the new C.F Iggulden book will be released and I have it on preorder. I will warn you now there is a very strong chance that I will be picking it straight up.

What are you reading this month? Are you taking part in the Emojiathon?