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: The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella @KinsellaSophie

Description

Samantha is a high-powered lawyer in London. She works all hours, has no home life, and cares only about getting a partnership.She thrives on the pressure and adrenalin. Until one day… she makes a mistake. A mistake so huge, it’ll wreck her career.

She walks right out of the office, gets on the first train she sees, and finds herself in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she is mistaken for the interviewee housekeeper and finds herself being offered the job. They have no idea they’ve hired a Cambridge-educated lawyer with an IQ of 158 – Samantha has no idea how to work the oven.

Disaster ensues. It’s chaos as Samantha battles with the washing machine…the ironing board…and attempts to cook a cordon bleu dinner. But gradually, she falls in love with her new life in a wholly unexpected way.

Will her employers ever discover the truth? Will Samantha’s old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

Review

It has been a while since I’ve read a Sophie Kinsella novel and I thought it would be good to pick one up as I love her writing style. Light and funny with a good dose of romance. I wasn’t at all disappointed with The Undomestic Goddess.

Samantha is a lawyer who runs faster than the speed of light from her job at one of the top law firms when she makes a whopper of a mistake, she quite accidentally runs into a job as a housekeeper for a hysterical couple who seem completely oblivious to the fact that Samantha has no clue what she is doing, even making a bed is completely beyond this poor woman.

Luckily the gardener Nathaniel is there to save the day in more ways than one and help Samantha discover who she is really meant to be.

Samantha was a lovely character, she starts stressed and sure that being a lawyer is everything she wants, her life passing her by working 70 hour weeks, as she gets to know Nathaniel and a simpler life she starts to question her ambitions and what she really wants.

Nathaniel is a lovely man, he has been putting other people first and putting his own ambitions on the back burner, something Samantha helps him understand. Together they unlock an understanding of what is important in life but what they have to discover is can their lives go in the same direction?

I thoroughly enjoyed delving back into a Sophie Kinsella, I will definitely not leave it so long next time.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleThe Undomestic Goddess
Series: N/A
AuthorSophie Kinsella
Genre: Chick-Lit | Romance
Publisher: N/A
Publication Date: 26 June 2009
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Hardcover | Paperback | Audio
Pages: 416
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | SpeedyHen | Wordery

Week in Review – 26 November 2017

I’ve been working on some things ready for next year I have some of my favourite authors secured for The Bookshelf in 2018, I’m literally bouncing off the walls with excitement over who I’ve secured. One will close out the year with the final bookshelf of the year and the others will be taking part in early 2018. It’s very exciting. Don’t forget anyone can take part just head here.

I’ve been busy with the mental health side of things again this week. The campaign I’ve been working on with my volunteering role went live this week at an event attended by Bristol’s Mayor and a number of other influential people from various organisations within the City. I had a great conversation with the Superintendent in charge of Mental Health for Avon & Somerset Police, it was great to meet someone in a position like this so passionate about mental health. This week I’ve appeared on Made in Bristol TV News and BBC Radio Bristol Breakfast, it’s been a busy week! The video we made for this campaign is below.

NaNoWriMo has gone really well, I hit the 50,000 words to complete it yesterday. For my first NaNo, I feel quite positive with how I went, especially as I finished early. When I started the month I didn’t think I would complete, but I’ve felt really inspired as I’ve written this novel and other than a few days where I’ve struggled to get the word count out I’ve really flown through it. I now need to backfill some areas of the novel that need more depth, and there are some additional chapters I want to add so I will set myself a new schedule and get on with it after my holiday.

It’s my birthday tomorrow and as always I’ll be running a giveaway, this year is probably my best yet, I tied it in with the release of a fantastic book so I hope you’re all ready for this! The post will go up at midday tomorrow and the Rafflecopter will stay open for a couple of weeks.

I go on holiday for a week next Thursday so the blog will go quiet for a bit. knowing me I will be about on Social Media, I can’t help myself(!) but there will be no posts until I get home. The plan is to have a nice relaxing week and to read loads. I really hope that pans out. More than anything I’m looking forward to sun, lots and lots of sun!

You Had Me At Hello - Mhairi McFarlaneThanks as always to everybody who voted in this month’s TBR Topple poll. I’ve had a great run of books from these polls so far, so I’m really looking forward to picking up this month’s winner. With 42.86% of the votes, the winner was, You Had Me at Hello by Mhairi McFarlane. I’ll be reviewing it next month and the new poll will go up when I get home from my holiday so will be slightly later than usual.

Here are this week’s book updates:

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

eARCs

Reviews

This week I have reviewed:

Four Star: and a Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills.
Five Star: A Stranger in the Cove by Rachel Brimble and Kiss My Boots by Harper Sloan.

Other Posts

I had excerpts from Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights by Leonard Durso and Become the Force by Daniel M. Jones. The Bookshelf this week featured the very lovely Danielle from Books, Vertigo and Tea.

Music Monday this week featured Bon Jovi with a Thanksgiving-themed song.

I also took part in the Brotherhood of the World Award.

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

Week in Review – 15 October 2017

Huge congratulations to my good friend, James over at This Is My Truth Now who’s debut novel was published this week. It’s called Watching Glass Shatter and will blow your mind.  You can pick it up from Amazon UK Amazon US.

My cold I was moaning about last week turned out to be Bronchitis, yeah I hid that well! So I’ve been sick all this week as well, had a pretty bad asthma attack on Tuesday night as well which is a kicker as I’ve not needed any asthma meds for almost two years. So I’m now back on all the inhalers and trying to learn to breathe again and stop coughing!

The plus side to having been so sick is I’ve read loads, I tried reading a fantasy novel but couldn’t concentrate what with all the coughing so I have been blitzing my way through the romance novels on my TBR. Always a silver lining!

Right, here is my bookish update for this week!

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

eARCs

Reviews

I kicked off my reviews this week with a review of my TBR Topple winner from last month Firestorm by Rachel Caine. I then reviewed Branded by Keary Taylor, Damned by Alexandrea Weiss and Lucas Astor, Now You See Me by Kierney Scott, and Lure by C.M. Stunich.

Other Posts

This week I had excerpts of Ruin of the Gods by Erin Hayes and Lure by C.M. Stunich as part of the Book Blitz. I featured Seether in the Music Monday post this week and I took part in The Fall Book Tag and The Playlist Shuffle Tag.

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

Week in Review – 10 September 2017

This week I have been working hard at the next draft of my book which is proving a slower job than writing the first draft, there is definitely an irony in there somewhere! That being said I’m starting to feel like it’s coming together now and that the reworked chapters are no longer a complete embarrassment so that’s a start!

Next Saturday I’m taking part in the 10-mile walk, Walking out of Darkness. Hopefully it won’t rain like it did last year! You can find out more here. I’ve also signed up to do a 5km infalatables obstacle course at the end of the month with a friend. They say it’s suitable for anyone aged 7+ so I figure I should be OK!

Right, here is my bookish update for this week!

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

eARCs

Reviews

This week I have reviewed The Dragon in the Garden by Erika Gardner, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, Beautiful Survivors by C.M. Stunich, and I Cried to Dream Again by Tani Hanes.

Other Posts

I took part in the Music Monday meme again this week and I had an excerpt from First Crush, Last Love by Elizabeth McKenna. On The Bookshelf this week was fantasy author Errin Krystal. I was tagged for the Sunshine Blogger Award and The Miranda Sings Award.

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books