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Coraline by Neil Gaiman

This book was sent to me by a book fairy πŸ™‚ This is a lovely edition with illustrations and a foreword by the author, he wrote this book for his children (long story short that foreword is a must read!) This is the edition to buy!

Coraline was one of my Halloween reads and I thought it’d be a light read even though it’s a dark fantasy. I was surprised to discover that it’s actually a creepy book! Even though it’s written for children the atmosphere is tense and it’s great!

“Something moved. It was little more than a shadow, and it scuttled down the darkened hall fast, like a little patch of night.”

I loved this odd little rhyme:

“We are small but we are many,

We are many, we are small

We were here before you rose

We will be here when you fall”

 

Coraline is a real, likeable character, she says funny things, like real children say:

” ‘Coraline: It’s raining.’

“yup, said her father. ‘It’s bucketing down.’

‘No,’ said Coraline, ‘it’s just raining.’

*

“‘Daddy, you’ve made a recipe again.'”

This is only the second Neil Gaiman book I’ve read and I’m never disapointed. They always exceed expectations and I’m surprised by how different his stories are. I am struggling to put into words how much I like his writing style, it’s not just the atmosphere and the riveting story but the similes he thinks of and his choice of words. I need to write down quotes more often.

I recommend this book so much, it’s a quick read. Dare I say, a must read!

Read it and share your thoughts, share how great this book is πŸ™‚

 

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Pressures of blogging and reviewing

Since my house move this year and the break I had to take from blogging I can’t seem to get back into writing more than one post a week for my blog. I don’t know if it’s the time of year or a result of the accumulation of stress due to the move etc but I’ve been struggling.

I do try to do too much and I’m thinking of taking a step back from my blog and focusing on other things. Like my writing which should be a priority. I love writing for my blog and reviewing books but lately I’ve been loving it less.

Problems reviewing

I’m decided to stop accepting review requests recently and now after having to write an email to say I can’t write a review for a book, it’d be very critical, I think I’m going to stop reviewing books for other people for the rest of the year. I’ve started reading a few books this year intending to review them but I haven’t been able to get into them and have had to write a not very fun email to the writer/publicist etc to explain. It’s horrible.

I know some bloggers write critical reviews and I have done in the past. I think because it’s for the writer or publisher and they will see it I just can’t be horrible. I’ve been called “too nice” by family in the past but maybe it’s because I am a writer that I just can’t be critical about someone’s book and write an unfavourable review. Which is odd because if I’ve read a book I didn’t like from Netgalley or just reading for myself I’ll say I didn’t like it. But since I’ve been blogging I’m more likely to not review a book than give it a critical review. Which isn’t very honest.Β This has got me down a bit. I don’t want to gloss over bits I didn’t enjoy in the book as that is lying too.

When I first started reviewing for the Lovereading review panel I always had brilliant books. I enjoyed them all. I started reviewing Netgalley books and if I didn’t like it I’d stop reading and not write a review. But if you’re writing for a blog tour or a writer it’s different.

It’s also hard to figure out if you’re going to like it, I try and read the first few pages on Amazon but you can’t always judge from that.

I want to read books I love, there’s so many books and so little time to read books you don’t enjoy. Don’t get me wrong I’ve read some great books from writers and for blog tours, maybe I’m only focusing on the negative.

All this has made me really stop and think about my blog and my reviewing. Can you do it if you are “too nice”? Can you write critical reviews if you are also a writer?Β I’m not sure what I think about all this so a break is the answer.

Going ahead

I’m still going to review my Netgalley books, I have a backlog and the books I read from my bookshelves. And I’ll probably be posting on here once a week or so.

But my priority has to be my writing now and also looking after myself rather than giving myself to many tasks that I feel exhausted.(My job is crazy this time of yr too). I know a lot of bloggers have taken a hiatus and we are all accepting the importance of breaks. After all we can’t do everything all at once. πŸ™‚

Stick with me, I’m not disappearing.

 

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The Little Box of Calm Unboxing

I recently backed this on Kickstarter. The little box of calm from Ninja Book Box. I just chose the gifts as I already have the book included in the box: On Anxiety. Anyway here’s my unboxing:

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It’s looking a lot like a Ninja Book Box πŸ˜€ A recipe card and a spoiler envelope.

The purple bag is full of lavender, I love lavender πŸ˜€ I’ve lost my eye mask so this is perfect, handy at the end of yoga. The white item saying “breathe” is a stress fabric rock hand, a good idea as when anxious the reminder is useful. The gorgeous bookmarks feature helpful quotes:

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Little reminders in your favourite book or current read, another good idea. Next a lavender candle and a shower bomb from geeky clean: lavender and lemon. My new house doesn’t have a bath and I’ve been itching to buy shower bombs πŸ˜€ how do they always know these things? (I’m writing this and all I can smell is lavender amazing)

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This is lovely, it definitely is a little box of calm. Lavender is the ultimate antedote.

Here’s a list of where the items are from, all indie businesses:

There’s still some available so if you like this as much as I do go to that website 😁 I recommend the book ‘On Anxiety’ you can find my review here

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My Bookshelf

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. My books are finally out of my moving boxes, (it’s only been two months!) so I can show you my bookshelves. I love browsing other peoples bookshelves.

They are not the most organised of shelves, just a warning, a trigger warning, a heads up that you may see a book that looks out of place. I wanted to get them out of boxes and there’s some sort of organisation :/ There’s some books still need to go on the shelves and a few piles that might be hidden in a cupboard (guilty secrets).

Don’t judge me by my bookshelf πŸ™‚

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My two bookcases (I need more but wallspace it awkward at the moment)

Right on the top I have my gorgeous hardback edition of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children trilogy. And a book of 100 ghost stories, I used to have a similar book as a child and it’s gone 😦 so I couldn’t resist this.

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The first two shelves are my to-be-read books. On the far left (after some random books, including a Bowie book I shouldn’t have bought I won’t read it) you’ll see my five indie books that have come from competitions and my Ninja Book Boxes πŸ™‚ Then the rest are books I’ve bought from charity shops or that have been on offer. A Thousand Perfect Notes I keep meaning to read it’s by one of my favourite bloggers. Wizard of Earthsea was a book fairy book.

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My shelves usually have ornaments and things on but they’re still in boxes (unpacking takes forever) you can see my tortoise I’ve had for years, my Nan used to have one as a pet, he was rescued and I had this when I was a child.

So top shelf is my to-be-read books, I’ve had the True Blood books for a while not sure if I’ll get around to reading them the rest are on a different shelf. Night World books, started reading these in my pre-teens couldn’t resist buying them again. (I already have one single book from those days). I won the Tarn Richardson books, they’re signed. I meant to read them recently :/ I won All Rivers Run Free too

The nextshelf is all my James Herbert’s and a few other horror novels. You’d think I’d have more but when I was in my teens everything was from the library or bootsales or cheap shops and I only bought horror or supernatural books. Then later when I started work, I started reading more widely in different genres and bought a lot more books. The Vampire Stories book was one the librarian kept back, for me in my teens,Β  knowing I’d love it, I bought this copy for myself years later.

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My Vampire Chronicles books…. my favourite books in my pre-teens and reread so much back then. Next to a more recent vampire series I could not resist, huge vampire fan when I was younger. And here’s my shelf of autobiographical books, The Salt Path is an amazing read. I always loved a new autobiography at Christmas.

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The bottom shelves are weird! Here’s my non-fiction some I’ve had since I was very young and others are recent additions (mainly the monster and vampire films books). I still haven’t finished that God Delusion book. That stack on the right is my teen/pre-teen books,The Vampire Diaries books and some witchy books.Β  I also have my Famous Five books that were in my mothers’ cupboard for years. I wish I kept more books from my childhood.

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This is starting to become a long post :/ Top shelf classics:img_20181112_093921736.jpg

Next shelf is a continuation of the classics and then my favourite books πŸ™‚ My obsessions, oh and A Room With A View :/ random placement. The gap is for my latest Carlos Ruiz Zafon book

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The second shelf down is my fantasy section. Behind the candle are more indie books, I love these books by Scarlett Thomas, I had the first book and candle in a Ninja Box, haven’t read book two yet. Lord Of The Rings reread continuing soon. I need more Robin Hobb books, just finished The Song Of Ice and Fire books

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My Poldark books!!! Ok so here it get’s a bit disorganised, take a breath. My Jenny Colgan books, I love this series. Joanne Harris next to some sci-fi (not just any but Jeff Vandermeer who wrote the Wonderbook writing book on the next shelf) and American Gods. Still haven’t read the short story/novella at the end of that. (what’s wrong with me!)

Random lovely books on the next shelf (spot the indie from my Ninja Book Box) , unputdownables… then The Pendragon Legend. And we get to all my how-to writing books.

And this last shelf hmmm a tad embarassing

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More non-fiction books on the right that I HAVE NOT READ AND HAD FOR YEARS (hides in another room forgets they exist). Poetry, small press short story anthologies for inspiration and for when my writing kicks off. Then the books on the left you don’t need to see, (though that orange book by Helen Kennerley is a good one anixety sufferers). Meditation books I haven’t finished, only two of these yoga books I’ve read :/ umm moving along moving along ….

I won’t show you the small piles of books that need new homes or the one’s I need to hide away πŸ™‚ I hope you’ve enjoyed nosing at my bookshelves. I’ve seen so many tidier ones.

I’ve got a book review coming up soon …. until then happy reading πŸ™‚

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Writing Update

It’s been a while since I mentioned writing on here. With the house move I wasn’t writing at all really. I started to get back to it but I’ve been all over the place lately so I’m still just muddling my way along until my brain gets into gear.

What have I been doing?

  • I’ve been tweaking a short horror I wrote, it’s only 834 words long. I’m hoping once it’s done I can find somewhere to send it πŸ™‚
  • I’ve finally bought my very first writing desk! Can’t wait to get that together and get all my stationary and writing papers etc organised so that I can get back to my novel. I’m hoping when it’s all sorted it might actually get my brain in motion to get things done.

Someone on twitter (can’t find the post again sorry, forgive me for not remembering you) mentioned that they were following this podcast every day in November instead of doing NaNoWriMo. It’s called Couch to 80K Boot Camp, every day you listen to the podcast and are given a writing exercise to do. I’m enjoying it and finding that I’m surprisingly creative with it except I meant to list things just now and ended up writing small paragraphs! Whoops πŸ™‚ I needed something to get me back into my novel and this might be it! It fits the bill for me anyway to get back to it. Not just my novel but general writing,Β  Tim Clare is funny and has good advice, straight away I felt like he really understood what my issues were and I’m trying to stick with it and find time everyday. I’ve missed one day so far and caught up, work happens!

http://www.timclarepoet.co.uk/couchto80kwritingbootcamp/ That’s the link. Week one is short exercises to get your creativity flowing, it’s really worth doing this. Getting back to basics isΒ  great way to get back into the writing groove or maybe just refresh a tired brain.

  • I wrote a new horror short story which isn’t terrible but needs work.

I don’t plan usually. If I have an image I write the story. Other times I might have the idea and a beginning, middle and end. I think most of the stories I write that I struggle with are those that I don’t have a plan for (not a huge plan just notes), but I need to write to flesh out an idea. I might have to stop writing and then plan ahead. Tim Clare said something about this in his podcast, I’ve always considered myself a pantser, he said “hows that working for you?” Not well! My muddle of a novel is evidence of that but I get stuck with a plan but when I start writing the ideas come.

Share your thoughts about this and let me know how you’re getting on. I know a lot of people are doing NaNoWriMo, best of luck with that, I miss doing it although I did do one Camp this year. Happy Writing! Tip: write more when you can each day so that when you are struggling you have a safety net, every word counts even that short paragraph or sentence you can scribble down on the way to work/school or on a lunch break.

Please leave links to your writing related blog posts. And your NaNoWriMo blog posts too πŸ™‚Β Β