I’m taking a moment this week to think about a friend that I heard lost her fight with anorexia and depression this week. As the words wrapped their way around me and the tears started to fall it was a stark reminder of how close I have come to losing my life to my bipolar so many times. She was a beautiful person, with a beautiful smile and she fought hard for people who couldn’t find their own voice. We had worked together on a social media project which ran for about 18 months and despite a significant age difference became good friends. I visited her in the hospital making the trip to Wales and taking books and bath treats for her because despite being stuck in a hospital bed she loved a pampering as much as the next person. Her death is not just a personal loss but a loss to the world of mental health, she had powerful things to say and always said them well. I will miss her, I will miss talking to her. I don’t believe in heaven or hell, I don’t believe in any God, but I do hope that whatever she believed in she found it along with the peace she was desperately seeking. I understand the desperation, the need to let go and I will never judge someone for that but my heart has broken just a little knowing I won’t ever see her again.
What I’ve Read
Bought / Freebies
There were no reviews this week 😦
I had Metallica on Music Monday this week. I reviewed the Harry Potter themed Rosie Lea Tea I received as a gift. I took part in the cover reveal for Callan by Sybil Bartel. Sue Johnson appeared on The Bookshelf this week.
I’m struggling with my reading mojo right now, with the bipolar flair up it’s done a runner so I am just doing the best I can and trying to stay on top of blog tours.
Something exciting to announce though:
Now onto something fun which has given me immense pleasure the past few weeks. My new blog feature! One of my online friends and I were talking about the cover models for books. The next thing we knew this feature was taking shape, we had a deal with Pathways Talent Services, and we had our first model on board. Next Wednesday 21 February at 5.30pm EST / 10.30pm GMT over at the Facebook Group Tanner’s Hot in the Kitchen we’ll be running a FB Live chat with this month’s model Michael Hild this is a chat with open questions so you can ask him all about being a model, his aspirations of being a cover model, reading, music, exercise, food, whatever takes your fancy. He is absolutely adorable, a really nice guy so you don’t want to miss this. THEN on Friday 23 February, I will be having a Michael Hild day right here on the blog, with a post that will feature lots of Michael goodness, including the video from the FB Live for those who miss it.
This format will be repeated each month with different models, some have already graced the covers of our favourite books, others, like Michael, want to and are coming to meet us and say Hi because they want to be seen…by us! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed putting this together with Tanner, and not just because I’ve spent oodles of time staring at photos of hot guys. But because it’s such an unusual and exciting feature. I’m chatting and becoming friends with guys who are excited about ‘meeting’ a whole new bunch of people and have some really interesting things to say, and I can’t wait for you to meet them as well.
The Party Palace – Lustful Longings Launch Party
In case you want a bit more of Michael…I will. He will be heading to The Party Palace with Tanner to do a takeover to celebrate the launch of Lustful Longings by Maggie Adams. This will be Thursday 22 6-7pm EST / 11pm-12am GMT. Click on the links above to find the group and book page.
Nikki Landis Launch Party
I am a huge fan of Nikki Landis and even help out as an admin in her Facebook group. Her new novel Sins of the Father is out this week. Check out my review if you missed it.
Nikki is having a two-day launch party with different authors taking the reins, running giveaways etc This is not one to miss! Join Nikki’s group Nikki’s Dark Alpha Addicts. And as a bonus, I will be taking part in the takeover on Thursday 22nd February at 12-1230pm EST / 5-530pm GMT so please do pop over to give me a virtual hug of support!
So, here is my update, much thinner on the ground than usual…
My mental health has continued to be a battle this week. I’ve had another week off work and my GP has signed me off for the rest of the month, not how I wanted to start my new job, but that’s how this goes sometimes. Living with Bipolar is a constant battle harder at times like this than at others. But I’m determined to get through this and get on track. I’m keeping up with exercise, of course getting bitten by a dog when running doesn’t make that easy! I kid you not a Greyhound (I mean could it have been a more docile dog?!) decided my thigh was breakfast!
There are a few things I really want to share with you this week, I’ve tried really hard to keep my head in the game, and not just fall into the “lazy” trap so here goes…
Coming soon is a new feature, the first one should be the 23rd assuming all the parts come together. It’s quite a big feature to put together, I’m collaborating with somebody else, who isn’t a blogger and does something not connected to books but has an awesome online presence and flatters the book vibe massively. We will also then jointly be collaborating with another organisation. I know I’m being super vague right now but let’s just say that at this point everyone is saying yes to the project and we just have to iron out the details for it to go ahead! At a time when I’m not feeling enthusiastic about anything this is pressing all my buttons.
I’ve also finished writing book two (insert cake here). I need to do a read through to check for mistakes, continuity problems etc but by the end of next week I want to have it out with Beta Readers…which is where you guys come in. If you fancy helping me out by reading and feeding back the brutal truth about this book which is an Adult Contemporary Romance then please let me know. I’ve put a convenient contact form below.
I have set up a group in Facebook for authors. It’s aim is for new authors especially those who are unpublished/first timers to have somewhere to ask questions and get real and honest answers from experienced authors. So far the group is being really helpful and honest and we’re learning loads from each other. If you would like to join come find us at the Fledgling Authors Support Group.
Right, here are this week’s book updates, I’ve struggled with reading this week which means I am epically behind with tour reading so I need to find my mojo and quickly next week!
It’s been another rough week for me, I’m really struggling with my bipolar right now, not sleeping, hearing voices, and balancing on the edge of a cliff where if I fall I’m in full-blown mania. My meds have been adjusted and dealing with those side effects are just as bad as the illness itself. But I’m getting through and I just have to keep reminding myself that it will end.
I do have things I want to talk about but I just don’t have it in me right now so I’ll just go with the update and hopefully, by next week I will have more wits about me…
Book of the Month
January has come to an end so it’s time to pick a book of the month, and straight away I just can’t pick one, it’s been a stellar month for books…I see my top 10 at the end of the year being impossible!
The Bitter Twins is the latest from Jen Williams, book two in The Winnowing Flame Trilogy. This book was everything I expect from Williams and more. Firmly cementing her position at the top of my fantasy author tree. My review can be found here.
The Dragon’s Wingand The Tiger’s Ambushare books two and three in the Kit Davenport series by Tate James and I’m classing them as a two for one here. While this is pegged as a reverse harem series, the paranormal/urban fantasy elements are absolutely fantastic and have me completely hooked. Anybody who loves paranormal/urban fantasy and is curious about reverse harem this is the series to start with because it is just perfectly executed and for me, the fantasy elements are far more prominent, although the romance is hot and heavy when it gets going.
Blunt Force Magic by Lawrence Davis is a surprise entry, the author had approached another blogger who reviews crime and she had tagged me and a couple of other fantasy loving bloggers. I was hooked by the description so despite not wanting to take on new books right now I said I would review it and I have no regrets, it was gripping, funny, and had some of the best battle scenes I’ve read in a while. Just so friggin good. Here is my review.
2Cellos were featured on Music Monday. The new TBR Topple post has gone up so check it out and vote on which book I@m going to read from my TBR this month. Lainy from Always Reading took part in The Bookshelf this week.
I know I mentioned last week that my mental health is having a bit of a wobble at the moment, I’ve reached a point now where I’m really not well at all. I’m really close to tipping into a full manic episode so I may need to just take a break from blogging for a short while. I’ve already cut back on social media and popping in on you guys, apologies guys. I’ve got posts scheduled to a certain point so if I do drop off you may not notice it straight away. I’m playing it by ear right now, and doing everything I need to, to take care of myself…especially in light of my next piece of news…
So one of the things I have had to keep tightlipped about recently, my volunteering job at the mental health charity has been converted into a paid role. I’ve been going through the process of applying for it formally and interviewing and I have now been offered the job and will start tomorrow. It’s only 10 hrs per week so I will still have plenty of time for the freelance work I have, and the blog and my writing but I’m really looking forward to getting more involved with their digital marketing.
I’ve had an interesting invitation this week which I decided to accept. I was asked to be one of the reader judges for the Your Laugh Line awards. I thought it was a fab opportunity to read some humorous books, a genre I really don’t dip into enough.
The contest has two components. One is a Reader’s Choice Award. Readers can log onto https://yourlaughline.com/vote and enter the author and book of their choice. The author who receives the most reader votes will win $250 and an assortment of promotional help from Your Laugh Line.
The other component is an adjudicated contest for books submitted by authors and/or their publishers. The form is available at https://yourlaughline.com/laugh-line-humorous-book-awards. The cost to enter the competition is $20 per book. Those books will be judged by a panel of expert book reviewers. The winning author will receive $500, plus an assortment of promotional help from Your Laugh Line.
Authors can enter the competition between February 1st and April 30th. Reader’s Choice voting runs from February 2nd to August 15th. Books making it past the first round will be announced on July 1, second round list on August 1, and the final winner on September 1. Honorable mentions will be made for category-specific books.
So, there you have it…if you’re interested in entering your book you definitely should and if you’re interested in judging you should definitely get in touch with them, I’m sure they would appreciate it!
Right, here are this week’s book updates:
TBR Topple Winner
The winner of the TBR Topple poll this month with 55% of the votes was To Journey in the Year of the Tiger by H. Leighton Dickson. I’m thrilled this book won, the last book of Dickson’s I read was incredible so I am looking forward to getting started on this one. Keep an eye open for the review next month, and a new poll in the early days of February.
Welcome back to another TBR Topple. I hope everyone had a fantastic festive period and is recovering from a night of celebrating seeing in the New Year!
Today I bring you another selection of books from my TBR to pick from in this month’s TBR Topple Poll. The Poll will remain open until January 20th when I will draw the winner.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to vote and I look forward to seeing which of these books you pick!
As always the voting form is at the end of the post, and feel free to share the post to get others voting!
The Amaranthine Chronicles by Tiffany Shand In a city of lies and deception, only one thing stands between chaos and justice. For centuries, a band of outlaws called the Amaranthine has kept the peace in Ormere and hidden in plain sight while the Order of Sorcerers spreads their deadly magic among the city’s inhabitants.
After losing her fiancé in bust gone wrong, Amaranthine Agent Kaylan Avilion returns home to discover that Elijah didn’t die but instead was changed by the twisted guards of the Order, who seek to find a dangerous artifact tied to Kaylan’s past and the murder of her family. When her sister goes missing and a foe from their past reemerges, Kaylan knows she must save Freya before she’s poisoned by the very people who took Elijah away from her. But how will Kaylan react when she learns Elijah’s secret, and can they come together to stop the Order’s plan in time?
The Bane by Keary Taylor Before the Evolution there was TorBane: technology that infused human DNA with cybernetic matter. It had the ability to grow new organs and limbs, to heal the world. Until it evolved out of control and spread like the common cold. The machine took over, the soul vanished, and the Bane were born. The Bane won’t stop until every last person has been infected. With less than two percent of the human population left, mankind is on the brink of extinction.
Eve knows the stories of the Evolution, the time before she wandered into the colony of Eden, unable to recall anything but her name. But she doesn’t need memories to know this world is her reality. This is a world that is quickly losing its humanity, one Bane at a time.
Fighting to keep one of the last remaining human colonies alive, Eve finds herself torn between her dedication to the colony, and the discovery of love. There is Avian and West – one a soldier, one a keeper of secrets. And in the end, Eve will make a choice that will change the future of mankind.
The Bane is The Terminator meets The Walking Dead with a heart-twisting romance.
To Journey in the Year of the Tiger by H. Leighton Dickson In the Survival of the Fittest, Not All Men are Created Equal. Some are Created Lions.
Kirin Wynegarde-Grey is a young lion with a big job – ensuring the stability and order of the Upper Kingdom, a genetically-altered Empire built in the Ashes of the ‘Ancestors,’ where humans are legend and animals walk like men. When an Ancestor awakens in the West, Kirin must lead a team that includes his unpredictable brother, a lethal swordswoman and three mysterious specialists to eliminate this ancient threat before it can usurp the Way of Things and plunge all the kingdoms into a state of war.
It’s ‘Planet of the Apes’ meets ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.’ Fans of Tolkien, Game of Thrones, or Japanese anime will be entertained in these intelligent, beautifully written pages in a blend of science, fantasy and zoological speculation.
Release Me by J Kenner Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.
Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past – and risk breaking us apart.
But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him – and us – for ever.
Shakespeare’s Champion by Charlaine Harris Lily Bard is hiding from her past. She’s interested in getting away from her troubles, not finding more. So it’s unfortunate that she stumbles across the corpse of a local bodybuilder in the gym, his neck broken by a barbell.
With this death, the town’s racial tensions reach boiling point. The dead man was connected to two unsolved murders of black residents. And as one dogged policeman tries to stop the killing, Lily is faced with a choice: stay and fight for justice, or run away one more time.
I’ve had a bad week this week, the dark cloud of depression has knocked me for six and a few things have made me doubt blogging. I had an author ask me to change my rating on their review which hurt more than I thought it would when I’d heard other people talking about similar encounters. I obviously said no, I think it’s safe to say as bloggers we all value our integrity and to do something like this undervalues all of our reviews not just that one.
My infection didn’t shift with the antibiotics so I’ve been given another, longer course of antibiotics which will run into my operation next week, it always makes me really angry and moody which is not helping my depressive mood or my reaction to negative situations any! I also ended up in hospital again on Friday with suspected Lithium Toxicity (which is a kind of blood poisoning) so I’m starting to feel like a real frequent flier in that place at the moment! All being well, my operation is next week, I have posts scheduled to go live while I’m away but I will likely be AWOL for a few days at least. So please don’t take it personally if I don’t visit you or don’t reply to any messages. I will be back!
Then there is my ongoing drama of trying to get a ticket to BristolCon a fantasy/sci-fi convention in October. On their website they say they offer an unwaged “membership” (their form of a ticket). I’ve been trying to get one for about 3 weeks now and it’s impossible. Last year I couldn’t go because I couldn’t afford it, this life on benefits is hard but I’ve tightened my belt a lot and have a bit to spare so could afford the early bird unwaged membership and with Jen Williams one of their guests I was well chuffed to go.
You can’t change the ticket option on the website so I tweeted them and sent an email to the address on the ticket page, after a few days I put a message up on my facebook page as I know a few people who go every year and know the people who run it and asked them if they could help me out with a contact. A few days later I got a reply on Twitter with a different email address and a promise someone would reply. I sent the email and nothing, nada, nil. And on June 1 the prices went up so I guess I won’t be going after all, which sucks! I have to say though they shouldn’t offer alternative prices if they aren’t going to honour them…that is really, truly, crap! I also won’t be trying to go again, even once I’m back in work and can afford full ticket price, I’ll go elsewhere.
Finally, in more positive news I’m taking part in Walking out of Darkness at the end of the month, it’s a mental health awareness event, walking ten miles in Weston super Mare. I’m taking part with my Brother and a mutual friend of ours and we are raising money for Bipolar UK. We have a fundraising page where you can donate if you feel so inclined or details of our text to donate are in the sidebar. We are grateful for anything you can spare for this amazing charity. Although as it’s just a couple of weeks after my operation I may be biting off more than I can chew! HAHA!
So, onto my bookish update this week…
Book of the Month
I swear I only did this last week! How has it come around so quickly?!
I had a few books that were in the running this month with 5* reviews but only one stood out hands and feet ahead of them all and that was this one.
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Red Sister was the kind of read that glues you to the page from the first word to the last. It was enthralling and fantasy writing at it’s very best. If this doesn’t become a classic in the genre then I will eat my fluffy hat.
“I ended up spending the last hundred pages or so with my breath held, toes clenched, and grinding my teeth, there was just so much tension.”