Saturday, March 21, 2015

Exciting yet Scary News!

I am excited, yet apprehensive, to say that I have finally taken the plunge and transferred my blog to WordPress. I thought it was about time I created my own domain and shook things up a bit. Having focused on books for so long, I was keen to branch out and blog about some other elements of my life that I know will be useful to others. For example, my new obsession with planning/organising.

I will be sad to leave Blogger as it has served me well over the years and has done better than I had ever expected. For first-time bloggers it is the perfect tool into the blogging world with it's user-friendly interface and manageable coding. 

However, the time has come to say goodbye. Just to let you all know - I currently have NO IDEA what I am doing over on WordPress and am predicting countless hours spent pouring over instruction guides and self-help books. 

While I try my best to deepen my geekability please check out what I have created so far. All my book posts have been transferred and you can still expect the usual eclectic book recommendations. And you never know, you might just find another amazing product or idea you weren't expecting. (FYI, these will always be related to well-being and happiness). 

Thank you all so much for following me here and I hope to see many of you over at my new domain :)

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Read. Rest. Relax

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Geek Girl : All That Glitters by Holly Smale

"My name is Harriet Manners, and I am still a geek." The fourth book in the award-winning GEEK GIRL series. Harriet Manners has high hopes for the new school year: she's a Sixth Former now, and things are going to be different. But with Nat busy falling in love at college and Toby preoccupied with a Top Secret project, Harriet soon discovers that's not necessarily a good thing...

 I received this book from the publishers for an open and honest review. 

Star Rating

Holly Smale does it again!! I absolutely adore the Geek Girl series and every time I read one I have wonderful flashbacks to my youth. I was the kid who LOVED school; the lessons, the books, the teachers, the friendships. Today, I often find myself reminiscing with friends and wishing that I could go back in time for a day to watch my 15 year old self. Reading the tales of Harriet Manners is the closest I will ever get to reliving my youth (unless someone finally invents time travel) but that is good enough for me. This brilliant series by Holly Smale not only reminds me of my own time spent in school, but of the books I used to read when I was younger - Jacqueline Wilson, The Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley High (all classics may I add).

Once again, this story is  full of more fascinating facts that will delight and surprise you. It often makes me wonder where Holly Smale gets them all from. I like to think she has a room in her house full of encyclopedias entitled 'random crap'.

'If you had a million snow crystals and compared two of them every second, you'd be there for nearly a hundred thousand years before you found two that matched.'

In this fourth-book, in the award winning series, Harriet Manners finds herself in sixth form, struggling to make new friends and learning the hard way that school life can be brutal. In this installment I feel that Holly Smale has really cemented Harriet's character and allowed her to find her voice. Harriet is witty, sarcastic and unceasingly funny and there were many occasions that I found myself laughing out loud (always a sure fire way to make yourself look insane to innocent bystanders).Holly Smale deals with the theme of friendship in a light-hearted yet meaningful way. The plot line is one that will resound with it's teen readers and I am sure many will admire the way Harriet deals with the challenges that face her. 

'If with every act of kindness, we shine a little brighter and the darkness gets a little lighter. With every type of friendship, space gets a little smaller and we get a little closer.'

Before I sign off, I can't end the post without quoting an extract from Holly Smale for all the book lovers out there. I leave you with this... 

'With my curtains shut and my bedroom door closed, I've devoured words like never before: buried myself in books and submerged myself in stories. I've read during breakfast, lunch and dinner' until the sun's come up and gone down and come up again. And not just fact books. I've fought dragons, attended balls and chased a whale. I've won wars, lost court cases, travelled India, ridden broomsticks and stranded myself on numerous islands. I've died a dozen times. Because here's the thing about a book: when you pick up a story, you put down your own. For a few precious moments, you become somebody else. Their memories become your memories; your thoughts turn into theirs Until, page by page, line by line, you disappear completely.' 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Filofax Club

BREAKING NEWS: I am deviating from the usual book posts to introduce a new obsession of mine - planning!

The past couple of months have been very stressful and I have recently been re-evaluating how I spend my time (most of it being at work or thinking about work). Deciding it was time for a change, I took the plunge and bought a 'personal sized' Filofax from Staples. Little did I know this would be the start of an unhealthy stationary addiction but it is good to have hobbies right? (I shall keep telling myself this).

I decided that I would use my Filofax to plan ahead, making sure I designate time for hobbies, exercise and relaxation as well as work. Following some research on Pinterest, I discovered that 'filofaxing' is actually a crafty hobby in itself and I have consequently enjoyed many afternoons printing my own inserts, decorating and making personalised dividers.

So far I have created the following sections: To Do, Blog, Weekly Plan, Notes and Health. 

Having always enjoyed 'making things' I have recently rekindled my relationship with paper crafts, making my own cards and starting a gratitude scrapbook. This is a great way to relax, take time for yourself and appreciate the little things in life. I had no idea there were so many products out there! I may well need to go on a stationary buying ban following this weekends outing. I found some great washi tapes in The Works and Paperchase and Wilkinsons have a fab selection of post-its. 

I have found weekly planning a real eye opener into work-life balance. As I transferred information over from my 'work diary' I realised just how much time I spend thinking and planning things around work. The realisation that I should be thinking and planning things around LIFE was overwhelming. I now use the weekly section of my filofax to pre-plan dinner with friends, social events and time to just enjoy my hobbies. I have come to realise that if I don't write them down I won't do them. I had fallen into that trap of getting up, going to work, coming home and slumping in front of the television because it was easy. It sounds daft, but I have learned that if I write a to-do list to read a book that evening then I will read a book that evening. If I make a note to leave for work half an hour later than usual then I will spend some time relaxing in the morning instead of rushing straight out the door. 

 I recently read a life changing book by a psychotherapist named Susan Balfour entitled 'Stress Control'. I can honestly say this was the best book I have ever read and it has definitely succeeded in changing my way of thinking. As Susan states, YOU are the most important person there is and you should spend more time doing what you want to do rather than what you think you 'should do'.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she's engaged to the prince, Twylla isn't exactly a member of the court. She's the executioner. 
As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she's taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla's fatal touch, avoids her company. But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he's able to look past Twylla's executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla's been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen. However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla's problems. 
The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

I received this book from the publishers for an open and honest review.

Star Rating

This debut novel by Melinda Salisbury is masterfully written and brings a fresh twist to YA fantasy fiction. I had not read anything like this before and was completely compelled from beginning to end. Many of those who read stories do so in order to escape the realities of the real world. This is certainly one of those stories and Melinda Salisbury successfully transports the reader into the dark, yet compelling, world of her imagination. 

The Sin Eater's Daughter tells the story of Twylla, a girl who is led to believe she is a Goddess embodied and has the power to poison those in the Kingdom with one touch. Betrothed to the prince, she leaves her family behind to live in the royal castle alongside the Queen and her beloved son, Merek. The Queen is desperate to continue the royal bloodline and to strike down anyone who threatens her Kingdom, Lormere. In order to keep Twylla safe, the Queen hires a guard, Lief, from an opposing kingdom who's arrival changes everything! Soon, Twylla begins to fall in love with Lief and tries her best to fight it. Plunged into a frenzy of emotions, Twylla has some important decisions to make. What is she willing to do to save her kingdom? Who will she choose?

Twylla is an extremely likeable protagonist; her dilemmas became my dilemmas and I was desperate for this doomed young woman to be happy. The extent of the Queen's wickedness was revealed drip by drip throughout the story and led to one of the most shocking endings I have read in a while! The last few chapters of this magnificent story are filled with betrayal, heartbreak and treachery. The ending leads on brilliantly to a sequel and I cannot wait to read it.