Week in Review – 24 December 2017

This is my last week in review of the year. Next week I’m going to put up some posts looking at which reviews have been my most popular through the year, and I will also post my top ten books of the year, and yes I’ve been agonising over that one!

Into the New Year, I will go back to posting just one review a day on most days, I’ve been cramming the reviews in over the past few weeks to try and clear my backlog down so that I can go into the New Year relatively fresh. But at the speed, I’m reading at the moment that’s not going to happen!

One thing I wanted to talk about on here was a post I wrote at the beginning of the year. I know stretching it a bit, isn’t it? I wrote this post on my mental health blog before I stopped writing on it, and it was about what was essentially my resolution for the year. I wanted to be more positive. Anybody who has known me for a long time knows that I’ve always let the Bipolar dictate how things are going to be. I’ve always had a very short temper, I’ve been moody, and really not been a particularly nice person to be around and I went into this year wanting to put a stop to that. Last year I did a lot of work on learning how to manage the Bipolar and just understand it better, this year was about being a more positive person. So I thought I would just briefly summarise how I felt it has gone because as shocking as it may be I fully embraced this promise to myself and am still living it.

I started volunteering, and now have two volunteering roles one for mental health charity Second Step where I am doing digital marketing within their Communications team, and another for Bristol Council where I am a walk leader for one of the mental health walks.

I’ve been to more gigs/concerts/festivals this year than I have in the past four years combined. It feels like I’m getting back to myself, I used to go to gigs almost every day so to be starting to go to gigs again on a regular basis feels like a part of me is coming back. We all know reading is a huge part of my life but so is music and I’ve lost that in the past few years so I’m over the moon that I’m starting to find that connection again.

I’ve learned to say “Yes” and mean it, I used to say “Yes” and then find an excuse to back out of things, now I’m actually fully committing and trying new things. I’ve joined fitness classes which I’m loving and will talk more about in a minute, I’ve made new friends something I really struggle to do…while I’m very chatty and sociable, I struggle to make true connections with people, I’ve been out clubbing (shocking at my age I know!), and even just small things like meeting people for coffee, getting in my car and going to someone’s house. All things I was too daunted to do before.

I’ve been to lots of events I’ve never been to before including a bunch of book-related events, signings, discussions, Q&A’s, festivals and I’ve met some wonderful authors including Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence, Laini Taylor, Ed McDonald, Joanne Harris, and Anna Stephens

I finally got the courage to chop all my hair off, and I love it, I’m so happy with my crazy haircut now, and I just changed the colour to one I’ve never tried before, because why not?!

I’ve had random conversations with people on the bus just because I took a moment to smile at someone as they got on so they sat next to me, these were really cool conversations and I think back and smile remembering the people I’ve spoken to over the year on the bus/in the street/in cafes etc. Being more open to human interaction is a wonderful thing. The other thing that has happened a lot this year is people keep thinking I’m younger than I am. Now whether it’s the haircut or that by being more open to people I come across younger I don’t know but people have guessed my age at being between 23-28 now considering I’m 38 all of these guesses were gratefully received.

I’ve argued less this year, of course, I’ve still argued, I’m not flipping perfect! But nowhere near as much as usual, I’ve learned when to keep my mouth shut and walk away which is about 90% of the time. My mental health has still had its moments but I’ve been much better at managing what is happening and dealing with it. As I write this I’m having a quite bad hypomanic episode in fact but I’ve done everything I can to manage it, my Doctor is aware and we are keeping an eye on it.

My fitness has soared as well, as I said I joined a fitness class. I go to three classes a week, I’ve just started running, and I do yoga at home, this is all in addition to the walking I did anyway. Doing all of this exercise is massively helping with the positivity and my state of mind and I highly recommend it!

So next year? I’m going to continue doing this, I didn’t realise going into this that being positive was a lifestyle choice. I know, naive right? I want to continue being open to new people, new experiences, and life as a whole. I missed a lot of life while I was really sick and I don’t want to miss anymore. I want to take as much of life in as possible, every single second. I have some great things already in the pipeline for 2018 and I can’t wait to share them with you.

So I promise myself to continue approaching life from a positive standpoint and to continue trying to be open to new experiences.

What are you going to promise yourself for 2018?

I hope everybody has a great Christmas. I know not everybody celebrates but I hope whatever you do it’s relaxing, enjoyable and stress-free

TBR Topple Winner

Surviving the Rachel - Aven EllisI drew the winner of this month’s TBR Topple vote, as always thank you to everybody who took the time to vote. This month the winner was Surviving the Rachel by Aven Ellis. I’m looking forward to reading this I always enjoy Aven Ellis’ books immensely and will be reading it in the next couple of days! Look out for the review in the New Year along with the new Poll.

Book of the Month

I’m choosing for December a little early as next week I will be picking my books of the year.

The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

The Vixen's Lead - Tate JamesThis book really blew me away, a debut author in the reverse harem genre, this is a paranormal/urban fantasy novel and is gripping from the first page to the last. A slow burn on the romance elements this focuses heavily on the paranormal storyline and I couldn’t put the book down. I finished it and immediately downloaded the second book and pre-ordered books three and four so confident was I that this was a series I was going to become completely enthralled by. You can read my full review here.

Allisons Adventures in Underland - C.M. StunichAnd because I’m indecisive, I’ve chosen another winner, Allison’s Adventure’s in Underland by C.M. Stunich. This was everything I want fairy tale retellings to be and they never are. It was dark, twisted, brutal, and sexy as hell. I read the whole book in one sitting because I just couldn’t tear myself away from it and I loved every last thing about it from the psychedelic drugs to the adaptation of “Eat Me” “Drink Me” which was just perfect. Every time I think I’ve seen everything Stunich has to throw at us she surprises me a bit more. I don’t know how I’m going to hold out until March for the second part of this series because I’m already at nail biting stage and I only read it last week!

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

I’ve not been showing books I pre-order on this, but I’ve decided to pop them in here on their own little gallery. I’ve added my most recent pre-orders to this week’s but going forward it will be a weekly thing as with the others.

Bought / Freebies

Pre-Orders

Book Post

Reviews

This week I have reviewed:

Five Star: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson, Neil and Bennett by Sybil Bartel, Elements of Ruin by C.M. Stunich and Tate James, and Lindisfarne by Terry Tyler.
Four Star: The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, Snow and SeductionFull Moon Rising by Keri Arthur, and Cowboy Up by Harper Sloan.

Other Posts

Corey Taylor provided a Christmas themed Music Monday this week. I took part in the book blitz for Bennett by Sybil Bartel and featured an excerpt from the book.

#Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur @kezarthur @PiatkusBooks

Description

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organisation created to police the supernatural races – and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, aka assassin, Riley is merely an office worker – until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming…

Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she’s going to find her brother. For someone is doing some illegal cloning in an attempt to produce the ultimate warrior – by tapping into the genome of nonhumans like Rhoan. Now Riley knows just how dangerous the world is for her kind – and just how much it needs her.

Review

This has been sat on my bookshelf for so long waiting for me to read it and I finally broke the spine and read it, I’m so glad I did as well. Riley works for the Directorate of Other Races in Melbourne, she’s pretty much a pencil pusher, much to the dismay of her boss who wants her as a Guardian due to her mixed race heritage, part vampire, part werewolf. When her brother goes missing on a mission she gets pulled into the life of a Guardian and has to find out where he is and why there are people after her.

I really loved this world and Riley especially, the werewolf call to the moon, means she has multiple mates and they have different relationships with Riley and different connections to the investigation. It’s an interesting approach to the genre and I love how she holds herself and is so upfront about sex. As a Guardian she is incredible, she’s strong, clever, and despite her hesitance in taking on the role she takes it on fully without hesitation and does what she needs to to get the job done.

There are some great sub-characters in the book as well. Riley’s brother Rhoan is brilliant and very protective of his sister and Quinn a vampire who gets involved is a strong character who I hope we see more of in future books.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes with the next book in the series.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleFull Moon Rising
SeriesRiley Jenson Guardian #1
AuthorKeri Arthur
Genre: Urban Fantasy | Paranormal Romance | Erotica
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Publication Date: 3 February 2011
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: Audio | eBook | Hardcover
Pages: 368
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | SpeedyHen | Wordery | Audible

Review: Hearts in Darkness by Keri Arthur

Description:
Private Investigator Nikki James has a lot to contend with. Her lover, Michael Kelly, walked out without so much as a goodbye, and what seemed like a simple case of stopping a runaway teen brought her face-to-face with another clutch of deadly vampires. But if that seemed bad, it is about to get a lot worse, because when Michael returns, it is not for her, but for the case.

Continue reading Review: Hearts in Darkness by Keri Arthur

Review: Beneath A Darkening Moon by Keri Arthur

Description:
Someone is murdering humans on the Ripple Creek Werewolf Reservation, and the murders are eerily similar to those Chief Ranger Savannah Grant witnessed nearly ten years ago. Having once had the reputation for being the wild sister, it seems her past has come back to haunt her. Worse still, the man sent in to help with the investigation is the one man Savannah had hoped never to see again – the man who had taken her trust and her heart, and smashed them both.

Continue reading Review: Beneath A Darkening Moon by Keri Arthur

Review: Circle of Desire by Keri Arthur

Description:
In ten years of working for the Damask Circle, shapeshifter Katherine Tanner has never come across anything that goes after kids the way this monster does, and she has never met anything that does to them what this thing does. And it’s not something she wants to confront. But with the Circle’s resources stretched to the limits, she’s given very little choice. The last thing she needs is interference from a cop who has no idea what he’s up against.

Continue reading Review: Circle of Desire by Keri Arthur