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Monday, March 31, 2014

Y.A REVIEW: Taken - Erin Bowman




Taken is one of those novels that I would recommend to everyone. I believe the best way to read it is with as little knowledge of the book as possible. I am so glad that I picked it up when I did, it truly was one of those funk breaker books that got me out of my slow reading and pulled me back into my passion. Erin's writing is gripping, a page turner, and Taken was never far from my mind at any point in time. It was one of those novels where you truly cannot bare to be anywhere else, but reading it, yet at the same time you don't want to finish it either.

For this reason I am going to give you five reasons that you must pick up Taken, the first book in what I believe is to be a trilogy. I hope that at least one of these, if not all of these intrigues you enough to pick it up. Enjoy the synopsis. The premise was executed fantastically.

Emotional Turbulence – it had me feeling all the feels. My heart was in a constant panic, then just as I couldn't take it any more the plot turned and my emotions shifted. Time and time again. I was deeply invested.

Engaging political intrigue – Always a lover of rich details and subterfuge, I was twisted through a loop of espionage and intrigue with every turning page.

Riveting Journey – By the time I was half way through the novel it was hard to believe were I had started. With creative story telling, atmospheric settings and heart racing action, the story's growth was believable and provoking from cover to cover.

Ace Pacing -I did not want to stop reading it. Chapter after chapter, I would read pages and pages and didn't want to put it down. The pacing was brilliant. Suspenseful, with quiet moments interspersed between the drama and mystery.

Mali-faceted Characters – Each one was inventive and relatable. I was questioning each one time and time again for so many reasons. I fell in love with Gray and Blaine, yet every character pulled on the heart strings – some in worse ways than others. Erin paints a versatile landscape in the cast, each with their own strong drives and promising back story.

I think by now you can tell this one gets a huge thumbs up from me. This promises to be an addictive start to Erin Bowman's career as a writer and for the following books, and novella's. That I will certainly be picking up.

♥♥♥♥♥








Thursday, February 6, 2014

Granny Chic - Dottie Angel & Ted and Agnes





Synopsis

More than just a how-to guide, granny chic offers inspiration to keen crafters hoping to breathe new life into vintage fabrics and second-hand objects. From handmade notebooks to lace lampshades and pinnies made from tea towels, each of the craft recipes brings the granny chic look to life whilst allowing you to give them your own personal twist. This selection of 20 projects includes spruced-up coat hangers, a dingle dangle door screen, a patched and pieced lampshade and a crocheted tea cosy. In addition to the projects, granny chic offers advice on the granny chic lifestyle, from befriending your local fabric shop to creating a handmade home.






I picked this up on a whim at my local library on a hot day and it really gave me the up and go I needed to start on a few projects. Not only did it inspire me with its delicious photography and easy to achieve projects. There were a lot of projects in it that I can do over and over again, using things that I already own. I do love a good craft book that is packed full of tips, tricks, advice and little snippets of inspiration and the lovely ladies here have created a fantastic book here.

Granny Chic is a lifestyle I resonate with whole heartedly. I am a resourceful woman. I love creating art from second hand bits and pieces and I am obsessed with floral's and bright colours. Vintage trinkets and cute pieces that make my heart sing. I now live with rose coloured glasses on me at all times when on the hunt online or offline or even when just going through my little bits and pieces and the photographs of fabric storage and suitcases gave me a fantastic idea of how to use an old suitcase as a home for all my fabrics and laces.

This is a definite for your collection if you love Granny Chic and photography are a collector of everything and anything and love to try different and easy projects. The only downside for me was the crocheting projects which hold little interest in me. I would recommend this as a pick me up full of vibrancy, cuteness and joy as well as a great tool for finding ways to connect with your creative old soul, and possibly even your partner or kids in doing some of the projects. It is certainly a keeper for me and I will be picking up my own copy.

♥♥♥♥ ½

Two Spiritual Reviews - Return Again & The Courage to be Free


TWO NON-FICTION REVIEWS






Synopsis

We were not born with the persistent negative, self-doubting, self-limiting thoughts and feelings most of us carry around. Those limitations are not part of our "original equipment." In the words of bestselling author and beloved teacher Guy Finley, "When you realize no one else on this earth can be like you... that no other soul may know the beauty, sorrow, light and darkness you alone are given to see, then you will no longer want to be like anyone else on this earth. You will, at last, be the fearless individual your heart of hearts has called you to be.


I picked this up at my local library after a quick flick through. At this moment in my life I am seeking to find myself on an endless life long journey and I am always interested in other people's perspectives on how to live a rich and free like while maintaining our authentic self. Guy presents a myriad of blunt suggestions, refreshing story telling and to the point key steps in which you can implement in your own life to activity be your powerful self.

Much with any book pertaining to spiritual enlightenment and self help I took what resonate with me and discarded the parts that say uncomfortable with me to reconsider and look at, at another time. I believe this is a book that you would need to read a few times to really ingrain his teachings into your mind in a manner that made them automatic. It takes practice and consistent learning to break through the resistance of freedom and I do think guy did a good job at giving those tools, however there were some parts that felt a little to forced for me and other parts where I felt that he was discarding natural human reaction.

Overall it is a book that I would probably buy if I could find it really cheap, but I wouldn't pay full price for it. However I would recommend it for a good read if you are interested in a different perspective of being and expressing your fearless self. It is a quick, thought challenging read.

♥♥♥1/2




Synopsis:

Discover your true purpose in this life, by exploring your past life in this do-it-yourself guide to past life regression.


Lately I have been awakened to the truth of past lives. I find the phenomenal experiences of other people both who have expressed their identity of deceased celebrities and well known world figures to be utterly provoking, stimulating and spiritually intriguing. From as young as Ten that I can recount I have always been drawn to Anne Frank and the time of the holocaust. I have read anything I can get my hands on about the time period and always when I am done with the curiosity of reading I feel a sense of deep sadness. I have flashbacks already, and I know within my heart that while I might not have been Anne Frank I was in that war. I know I am not the only one, and so when I started this journey into learning about Past Lives, not only did it bring amazing people with experience and knowledge into my life, but it is beginning to bring me great documented accounts and teachings that I can gain so much from.

When at my local library I said – I wish I could find a book on Past Lives, literally the next book I pulled out was Return Again – How to do your own Past Life Regression by Georgia Cannon.

This informative and positive guide read more to be like an introduction to Past Lives more than a regression workbook. I would recommend it for those readers who are new to the concept of Past Lives and Interlives as well as those who would like to learn about Soul agreements, Karma, the different kinds of soul mates and the planes of existence. I would also suggest that if you are triggered by the topic of death and reincarnation that you have a support system put in place before you try any of the exercises later on in the book.

I found it to be extensive enough to keep me interested. As someone with a little background and experience in practising the regression, I always love learning different techniques, exercises and reading about other peoples experience in a field that is deeply fascinating. Georgia did a fantastic job at drawing me into her teachings and I could not put this book down. I had to keep reading, learning, relating and appreciating the wealth of knowledge from the experience of reading this book. It has given me a lot to consider and a great tool for taking my own journey into past life regression.

If you are interested in the field or wanting to learn a little more about life, death and spirituality as well as Karma and soul mates I would recommend picking this book up. I am certainly going to be adding it to my own collection and doing the self recorded hypnosis in the near future.

♥♥♥♥ ½


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Year Book Buying Ban - January Update







Progress – Pushing past the habit

This month has been crazy hard. I have not brought any books. I have not even requested any from Net-Galley. I haven't bargained someone into buying me books, and no one has gifted me with any. I haven't even looked online for books. I did catch myself once or twice almost in automatic response to a link here, a special there, or just to find out what I could learn about a new release.

It has been 31 days. Yes I am going insane with wanting to buy all the books, but I am also learning a lot during this process. The most important is that I have plenty on hand to read. I have been going to the library, borrowing books from friends, looking through my shelves and finishing of books I started and never finished from last year. I have plenty to keep me excited.

Why Blair – Why are you doing this to yourself?

I decided this Year long book buying ban challenge a few months before the New Year of 2014. I have long since been inspired by Susan Hill who took up her own challenge to only read the books that she owned and revisit her favourites as well as read ones she had been wanting to for a long time. I found I was lacking the motivation in this area of my reading life. With the pressure of wanting to read not only all the new books that were coming out, but my old ones, and library ones. Not to mention finish some series, start new ones and find some series and authors to delight in for the long haul, I found myself avoiding re-reads. Avoiding the finishing of series because of the long commitment they take to read through and being a series jumper and not a marathoner I wanted to take it upon myself to challenge myself to try.

I wanted to make a change, and in doing so make a difference somehow. Not only in my bank balance [ because sure, so far that has failed since I have so many different hobbies], but also in someone else's life by directing my passion for reading, my need to change a habit and a love for helping people into a series of events that will raise money for different charities. What better way to have an even stronger direction, a sense of purpose and a reason to get others involved in reading what they own and possibly trying something new themselves.

These events are in the process of planning. I hope by mid-year to be able to say I am 6 months free from my addictive book buying habit and begin to host the events. I would love to see my collection of unread books slimming down, to donate any books to my book sale that I didn't enjoy to someone who might and remember what it was like to have very little, but love a lot.

I am looking forward to documenting this journey as well. With the books I have read, articles I find, photo's of the books I am reading. Anything bookish related that is not a haul – think reviews, discussions [if I see fit] quotes...anything and everything to document the experience and maybe even offer hope to someone out there like me who owns enough books to last two life times, but wants to really get a crack on in getting that pile down and having those adventures.

Epic Fail

There is always the possibility of an epic fail where I cave in.
But I am a dreamer as well as a part time realist.
I believe in manifestation and working hard on the goals I set for myself.
One day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time
I can do this.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Finishing a series - My story and discussion





FINISHING A SERIES - DO OR DON'T


When I first started reading books that I had purchased myself I was into series. I would go down to my local independent book store with the little money I had left over and buy myself either a new Christine Feehan book or a J.R Ward book. Those books are still sitting on my shelf almost 8 years later and I am not even anywhere close to done with them. You might ask why, but I am fairly sure we all know the wonderful temptation of a new book and with a new book comes a new series or trilogy and over time if you are like me and keep collecting and starting new ones soon enough your older books are collecting dust and you forget what even happened in the series you started a while back.

It got me thinking about some questions I wanted to ask myself, and questions I wanted to ask fellow readers and bloggers. In journaling these questions I began to evaluate not only the way I read, but the way I buy books, collect books and share my passion for them through reviews and hauls. What if I truly could sit down and do something as amazing as a marathon. Granted it would take me a few months of reading, but I could do it and finish some series in a matter of months rather than years. How wonderful would it be to be able to look at a pile of books and say – yes I finished that series and it was an amazing ride. I imagine that feeling every time I start the first book, the second and sometimes even the third if I get that far. Now I don't just want to imagine it. I want to make it a reality.

I have talked about what a commitment it would be do take on something like finishing a series. It would mean really picking and choosing to start new books and new series over getting back into older ones. Recently I was reading the fourth book in The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R.Ward [granted it has taken me a few months of dipping in and out of it] and while I was enjoying the pleasure of finally sitting down and reading a lot of emotions were rekindled while I reintroduced myself to the characters and the world I had initially fell in love with. It was in that moment, flicking through the pages and falling deeper in love with characters that felt like old friends that I knew I didn't want to wait another eight more years to jump into the next book. But how could I do that when alone there are more than ten books in the series and I have so many other books waiting for me to read.

The answer is simple – I just do it.

It is not going to be easy. Nothing ever worth doing comes easy. I am in for the ride though. No pressure on myself. Keeping it simple. The way to change a habit or a thought pattern is one baby step at a time.

In the meantime check in next week where I will be answering these questions and feel free to take sometime to read them and think about your reading life. I might even come back with a TAG video.

Make yourself a cuppa – Grab a pen and Journal your thoughts...

How do you continue a series? Do you Marathon it? Skip around with different books in different series to break it up?



Do you only read the first book in a series and is so why?



Do you like a quick rehash of the previous books in the series before you jump into the next one or do you prefer longer backstory?



What are some of your favorite series and why do you continue to read them?



If you are/ were a writer - How do you plan to keep your reader interested in continuing your series?



What makes you want to continue a series?



What makes you not continue with a series?



If you pick up a book that is not the first in a series, will you read it anyway and go back to the first later? Or go to the first and start from there?



What would make you read a series out of order?



What series do you wish could go on forever?



What series do you wish had ended at book one?


I also found some interesting articles that corresponded with the questions. Happy reading and writing readers !


Should I continue reading a series : http://www.bookblogbake.com/2013/05/16/should-i-continue-reading-this-series-a-handy-flowchart/



http://badassbookreviews.com/series-i-need-to-continue/ - Series I need to continue - perspective on reading a series out of order.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Star Cursed - Jessica Spotswood






Pages: 384
Published: June 18th 2013 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
Format: Hardback
Genre: Y.A / Historical
Acquired: My own collection
Date Finished: 25th January 2014

Synopsis:

With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.


Quick thoughts: Vivid and imaginative, a fantastic continuation



I have been reading this one for a little over six months. Yet every time I picked it up I was able to slip back into the world that Jessica Spotswood has created. This series is fast becoming one of my top favourite series. Jessica's writing style is beautiful with vivid images and just the right mixture of magic and action. Her characters truly stand out as unique to the story and each has their own fascinating part to play in what was an amazing sequel to The Cahill Witch Chronicals.

In the second instalment we see things unravel and become even more dangerous as the Brotherhood cracks down on their search for the Oracle and Witches. The stakes are higher, lives are being lost, tension and fear is rising and the suspense is thickening. What I enjoyed the most was the progression of the story and the anticipation of approaching war. There is so much to be lost, yet a lot to be gained and it is so exciting watching it all unfold. From the betrayal of those Cate trusted, to the magic and the reality of what it means to be a Witch I was enthralled yet again in Jessica's storytelling.

Jessica does Historical so damn well, painting a rich tapestry with her eloquent settings, you truly get a sense of the bleak and beautiful atmosphere at times. There were some parts Star Cursed that were predictable, for the most part the twists are hard hitting and they kept me turning page after page. Admittedly I still find Cate as a main character to be frustrating, but I believe she really came into herself in this novel and I cannot say I would not feel the same given the circumstances. The way she tries to hold her family is admirable and while she doesn't always make the best choices, her choices drive the story and make me fall in love with the surrounding characters even more. Finn and Tess are high up on that list, they are such wonderfully explored characters.

The ending left me so so cold. I turned and looked at my own partner and almost cried. Jessica Spotswood [EXPLAIN YOURSELF] For all those who have read it, you will understand how detrimental it is, and how waiting until August of 2014 is just not right – it's darn right criminal. I want it right now. That ending – words...words have left me.

Think candles lit, pots of tea and a cosy read on a winter day or laying in the sun in the Summer sipping on a cool drink and getting lost in another time. This truly is a series to get lost in and fall in love with. I cannot wait for the third instalment and to re-read these books over and over again, If you have not yet picked up Star Cursed what are you waiting for? It is well worth the read.

RATING

♥♥♥♥ ½

Monday, January 20, 2014

January, Oh January Where Have You Gone...


Welcome to 2014,

January is almost over and we will soon be moving on into February. It is a scary thought that already the year is moving so fast and yet I have done so little on my blog. I am here both to rectify that and to share with you my January so far in reading: What I am reading now. What I am wanting to read in the near future and What I have still in my deliciously new reading storage box that holds all the books I started last year but am yet to finish. So make a cuppa, maybe grab a pen or your planner in case you see a book you like and lets take a look.

Starting of with I am moving through the books in my storage box. It sits up on my two tier shelf next to the handmade reading lamp my friend made me last year for my birthday and mainly at the moment houses a mixture of Adult & Y.A books. The books in there are:


  • Teardrop – Lauren Kate
  • Calling Mrs Christmas – Carole Matthews
  • Nightshade – Andrea Cremer
  • Supernaturally – Keirstan White
  • Planet of Exile – Ursula Le Guin
  • Lover Revealed J.R Ward
  • Texas Lawman's Last Stand – Dolores Fossen


The next category is books I am currently reading, and there are a few. I like to mix it up and since I am dipping into a few of them every now and then I will just share the ones I am reading on a more regular basis. I am almost finished with Star Cursed which is exciting and I only have a quarter more to read of Granny Chic. Both of these books have been a life saver this week in recovering from Christmas and have inspired me to write, create and fall in love with the old and the new.



  • The Hobbit – J. R. R Tolkien
  • Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
  • Star Cursed- Jessica Spotswood
  • Granny Chic – Tiff Fussel & Rachelle Blondel
  • The Writer's Little Helper – Jim [James] Smith



Now to a few books I have waiting for me, looking so delicious I cannot wait to dig into them. Thanks to Evie [a new friend] for lending me something new in The Divine Feminine, I am really excited about exploring creativity and feminine soul. Of course anything Paris is so me this year and I borrowed Paris- A guide to to the creative heart becsause I have seen it in many places and after a flick through at the library I could not leave without it, leaving lastly- Spirit Bound. I wanted to finish of the Vampire Academy books last year, but never got around to it, but it has been calling and calling me to read and finish so it will be one of my upcoming goals to do so. Anyone call for a marathon !!!



  1. The Divine Feminine Fire – Teri Degler
  2. Spirit Bound- Richelle Mead
  3. Paris – A guide to the city's creative heart – Janell'e MaCulloch

So there you have it lovelies. A wrap up of the books floating around my sphere. I hope you enjoyed my update and I cannot wait to start the new year loving, reading and writing about my passion for everything books. Much Love ~ Blessed reading.



My Passion is Reading

I always aim to have review books out before or on their release date but as many people understand life gets in the way. My passion is reading and I love to share that. I believe reading should be for enjoyment and not stress so if I do request a book you will receive a review as close to the release date as possible.

Thank you to all the support you give as readers, writers and fellow bloggers and Vloggers. You have opened up a new world for me. A world I now call home.