I saw the psychiatrist this week, have a plan for med changes the first of which has been implemented already so I have everything crossed that by this time next month things will be feeling a bit more ‘normal’.
I’ve had something of a nightmare with getting my DVLA medical carried out the health centre they assigned me to, to get it done have been nothing short of imbeciles and it’s looking like I may lose my driving licence just because the medical hasn’t been done in the correct timeframe, completely out of my control. I am putting a complaint in what little that will do.
My new feature, Unsung Heroes, will start next Wednesday. I hope you enjoy it, please let me know your thoughts and if you want to know more/take part take a look here.
Book of the Month – March
My Mum once told me the older you get the faster time goes…I think she might be right because I can’t keep up with it anymore!
Callan by Sybil Bartel Callan was a hands-down winner this month. Sybil Bartel’s naive alpha male won my heart and while I could easily line up her books for a book of the month award there was something special about this one, Callan’s background gave him a childish innocence which when mixed with his natural alpha male was just something else entirely. The best thing was that Sybil Bartel made it come across as completely natural. Combine that with the forbidden romance of falling in love with his step-sister. Damn this book was pure perfection.
You can read my full review here, but really you should just be going out to buy it already!
Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the festive season and have jumped back into the new year with gusto! Here is my first week in review of 2018!
You will notice I’ve given the blog a makeover! I’ve been planning this for a while and I hope that you like it as much as I do!
I’m currently beta reading two books for author friends so I’ve slowed down on my normal reading a little while I work through those beauties, and beauties they are! I’ve also put my writing on hold while I work through these two books. My first book is also with my wonderful editor now as well and I’ve started working on her marketing strategy for her as part of the skills exchange we agreed to in lieu of financial payment.
I’ve hopefully got my asthma issues on the right path to being fixed now. I’ve been given a new inhaler which I’ve been told is particularly good for people with exercise induced asthma who do a lot of exercise, which apparently I qualify for these days! I’ve only been taking it a few days so we will see how it goes but I’m hopeful. I’m now running every day, and back to my classes, three per week and although the asthma is still kicking my butt I’m pushing through.
Yesterday I went to a taster day at a dance studio in Bristol, trying out things like pole dancing, burlesque, and chair dancing. I have never been good at dance, I have no co-ordination, I’m not flexible, and I have no rhythm at all, so I had no idea what this day would be like. Six classes down I’m aching like you wouldn’t believe and covered in bruises but I had so much fun. I can also confirm that I cannot twerk or pole dance to save my life but I was pretty good at burlesque and chair dancing…who’d have thunk it?!
The year is 2024.
A mysterious virus rages around the UK.
Within days, ‘bat fever’ is out of control.
Patient Zero is a collection of nine short stories featuring minor characters from the post apocalyptic Project Renova series. All stories are completely ‘stand alone’.
1. Jared: The Spare Vial
Jared has two vaccinations against the deadly virus: one for him, one for a friend…
2. Flora: Princess Snowflake
The girl with the perfect life, who believes in her father, the government, Christian charity and happy endings.
3. Jeff: The Prepper
What does a doomsday ‘prepper’ do when there is nothing left to prepare for?
4. Karen: Atonement
She ruined her sister’s last day on earth, and for this she must do penance.
5. Aaron: #NewWorldProblems
Aaron can’t believe his luck; he appears to be immune. But his problems are far from over.
6. Ruby: Money To Burn
Eager to escape from her drug dealer boyfriend’s lifestyle, Ruby sets off with a bag filled with cash.
7. Meg: The Prison Guard’s Wife
Meg waits for her husband to arrive home from work. And waits…
8. Evie: Patient Zero
Boyfriend Nick neglects her. This Sunday will be the last time she puts up with it. The very last time.
9. Martin: This Life
Life after life has taught the sixty year old journalist to see the bigger picture.
Tipping Point and Lindisfarne are the first two full length novels in the Project Renova series. A third will be available around late spring/early summer 2018.
Patient Zero is a fabulous idea and so wonderfully executed. Terry Tyler has taken some of the bit part characters mentioned in the earlier novels and given us their back-story. Told us how they got to the point where we meet them in the novels, or what happened after they leave us.
What I found reading these stories was that just like with the main novels, this series is all about the people, as I delved into each of these stories I became engrossed in the characters, what happened to them, why it happened, how could certain things have been avoided or changed?
Some of the characters I remembered better than others, some clearly, some not at all, regardless I was completely engrossed in their stories. It was also clear that you don’t need to have read the first two books to enjoy these stories. They are completely standalone and would be suitable for you to pick up and read with no prior knowledge of this world. This is also a short read, it took me just over an hour to read this fantastic post-apocalyptic book.
Terry Tyler is a fantastic author and these are some great stories to keep you going.
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
I 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
This 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.
And 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!
What I’ve Read
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.
‘You’re judging this by the standards of the old world. But that’s gone. We don’t live there any more.’
Six months after the viral outbreak, civilised society in the UK has broken down. Vicky and her group travel to the Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, where they are welcomed by an existing community.
New relationships are formed, old ones renewed. The lucky survivors adapt, finding strength they didn’t know they possessed, but the honeymoon period does not last long. Some cannot accept that the rules have changed, and, for just a few, the opportunity to seize power is too great to pass up. Egos clash, and the islanders soon discover that there are greater dangers than not having enough to eat.
Meanwhile, in the south, Brian Doyle discovers that rebuilding is taking place in the middle of the devastated countryside. He comes face to face with Alex Verlander from Renova Workforce Liaison, who makes him an offer he can’t refuse. But is UK 2.0 a world in which he will want to live?
Lindisfarne is Book 2 in the Project Renova series, sequel to Tipping Point (Book 1).
Book 3 is a collection of stand-alone short stories, entitled Patient Zero, which features back and side-stories from minor characters. The next full-length novel in the series, UK2, is due in late spring/early summer 2018.
Lindisfarne continues the story we started in Tipping Point. Time has moved on and the survivors are now living on the island of Lindisfarne as part of a community. But in a post-apocalyptic world life isn’t as simple as it may seem. This book explores how people cope in these situations, both personally but also as a community once government, law, and society as a whole as broken down.
Catching up with characters from the first book is like settling in with old friends. I had become quite attached to these characters and in this book Terry Tyler gives the characters their own chapters so we get to see things from their perspective, and of course become far more attached than we were before. In the first book Vicky was primarily the focus of the story with a few diversions, in this book I started to find her a little annoying, she doesn’t adapt well to the new world and way of living at all, she makes choices that had me doing some serious eye rolling. Her daughter Lottie however is the epitome of a post-apocalyptic woman, she adapts so well to this world and although there are things that knock her and make her doubt her strength she holds herself together very well and makes decisions a girl of 17 should never have to make.
Heath and his son Jax get much more focus in this book and they were favourites of mine in the first book so I loved having more time with them in this one, I feel Jax comes into his own towards the end of this book graduating from a boy to a man and we find out much more about the back story of these two which is heartbreaking and explains a lot about how Heath acts and why he is so withdrawn.
Wedge the psychopathic biker is probably my favourite character, I know, I have a problem. He adapts to this new world with a flair that is disturbing, the lack of law and order means that a man like him can just run roughshod over everything and his way of justifying his decisions just tickled me.
There were laughs, tears, shocks, love, and murder in this novel and I’m keen to see what happens in the third novel.
A huge thanks to Terry Tyler for the eARC of this novel. These views are my honest opinion.
This has been a great week, really busy, but great.
On Tuesday, I went and lead the walking group, got drowned in a terrible downpour then went straight to the BCfm studio for an on-air interview about how I got involved with the walking group, and the correlation between mental and physical health. If you want to listen you can go here click on 14/11/2017, listen from 19:30 for a couple of minutes. It’s a very Bristolian interview so be warned!
Wednesday I was volunteering as usual, except this week we were in full speed preparation for our big event next week. I love getting my head down and prepping work. I love having a solid to do list and just working hard. There was a lot of social media work, some design work (I’m extremely amateur), and some writing and PR work. Next Wednesday is the event so hopefully, in next week’s roundup, I can bring you some photo’s. There are a fair few important people going including Bristol’s Mayor, and I’m going to be on a panel for a Q&A session.
NaNoWriMo is going well, really well actually. I was honestly worried when I signed up that I was setting myself up for a fail. But this story wants to come out of me so badly! I had my outline and while it’s sort of following the basic premise of that outline, I literally sit down each day not having a clue where this story is going. Most days I finish the chapter I sat down to write and say “Wow, did that really just happen?” There have been a few directions it’s taken where I’ve done a double take. My imagination is having fun with this book, and I love what is coming out. I’m currently at 41,687 words, that’s 10,014 over target.
Great week this week (hooray!) Monday was all about the books! I went to the Fantasy Faction Grim Gathering in Bath which turned out to be a blast, big up to Marc at Fantasy Faction for putting on a great event. On the panel was Peter V. Brett, Mark Lawrence, Joe Abercrombie, Peter Newman, and Anna Stephens. A pretty epic line up I have to say. Having just read and reviewed both Anna and Mark’s releases I was keen to get them signed and say Hi to them both.
The panel discussion was great, lots of talk around, what is grimdark, are their books actually grimdark and what does hope contribute to these books. It was a really interesting discussion and the authors were charismatic and funny. It was also interesting to see the breadth of answers between authors, especially around planning where some plan meticulously where others wing it and just write and see where the writing takes them.
Something quite random did happen, I got myself seated for the panel discussion, and someone came along and asked if they could get into the seat next to me. He got seated and started chatting with the guy on the other side and I thought to myself “he looks familiar” and I heard him mention his publisher to the guy he was talking to. So my head is spinning, thinking he can’t be who I think he looks like surely? Once the panel had finished I started talking to him and shock he was Ed McDonald and the guy he was talking to was sci-fi author Tom Toner.
We all ended up around the corner in a local pub and I had a great night chatting with everyone, there were some absolutely hilarious moments and lots of book talk. I got to meet seven authors, and hung out with four of them properly over drinks so an absolutely great night.
On Friday, I joined a few friends at a rock and metal club night. I used to go to this every Friday night back when I was a wee whipper snapper. This is the first time I’ve been out to a club since I stopped drinking so it was an interesting test of the sobriety. Turns out I had a fantastic time, lots of dancing, laughing, singing and drinking far too much lemonade. I was on quite the sugar high when I got home! I think the plan is for us to go to the next one they run just before Halloween which should be good, I might even dress up!
Here’s the bookish update for this week…
Book of the Month
This month’s winner is a no-brainer, I reviewed it this week but my love of the lead character and the fact I’ve been chomping at the bit to read it for almost a full year meant that it was almost guaranteed a slot in book of the month short of it being a complete flop! Raising Fire by James Bennett was actually better than I expected, completely propelling the main character on from the first book and taking the story onto a new level. An absolutely fantastic read!