Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Calm The F**k Down by Sarah Knight

Before we begin, this is usually where the spoiler disclaimer would be, but there isn’t one for this post. I think this is a book that needs to be shared, you need to hear snippets and see just how amazingly helpful and uplifting this book is. So without further adeu, here is my review and ramblings for Calm The F**k Down by Sarah Knight

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Calm The F**k Down – Sarah Knight

Published December 31st 2018 by Quercus

Book Depository

GoodReads

 

 

I was so kindly sent a finished copy of this book, by Hachette Australia. I requested it from them because, not only does it combine dealing with anxiety and stress, something that we all can relate to, but it also sounds hilarious, which, in my opinion, is also what you need when reading a book about anxiety and how to deal with it.

Firstly, I was a little wary about reading and reviewing a self-help book. But honesty time here, I have suffered from my fair share of stress and anxiety, last year alone, I had eight weeks off of work because of it. So I think I am one of those people who, this book fell into their lap for a reason. So off I go…

This book starts off by asking you three questions, three questions that you have to be honest about before you can continue, and like me, I am sure so many people answered Yes to all of them. It is hard hitting this book, it makes you realise that you aren’t alone. That just because you are going though your own patch of anxious misery, there are people who are going through a similar thing, with some of the same thoughts as you. It is both confronting and comforting.

Everything Is A Tarantula – this chapter speaks to me on a deep, deeeeep level. Not only because I am particularly adverse to spiders. But Knight has so perfectly summed up the feeling of how anxiety builds. When you first see the spider you go into good ole, flight or fright, then the heart rate speeds up, sweat sets in and finally the inner monologue begins. I love this comparison, and when, in my life, my tarantulas pop up, I’ll know how to deal with them better.

I am loving this book, I didn’t expect to, but I am, it is giving me so many more coping mechanisms than I expected and it is keeping it light-hearted. The last thing I want, as a stress headed anxiety sufferer, is a heavy, scientific word loaded, text book. So this book is perfect. I can’t say it enough, It is such a good read.

I also love that this book has an index, got a particular problem? Look it up and read about it. Address your problem and deal with it. This book covers everything, from going over embarrassing conversations in your head until you have blown them up, out of proportion to acting out what you are going to say to people, while you are in the shower… knowing full well, you would never be as brave as you are in your personal pantomime.

I also love the Choose Your Own Adventure section in the back of the book. It gives you scenarios and you choose which emotion you feel and it tells you which chapters to read, to overcome that anxiety, sadness, stress, anger or whatever other feeling you may be experiencing. I think this is a great way to access just what emotion you are feeling, as sometimes, this is the hardest part, identifying how exactly you are feeling and why.

This book is a fantastic read, read it in its entirety, or read chapters as you need them, it is perfectly designed for both choices. It is easy to read, easy to understand and it is fun. It doesn’t make you feel like an idiot for reading a self-help book, it makes you feel light-hearted and gives you so many ideas and things to try, when you are having a hard day. I think that this is a book that everyone should have on their bookshelf, even if you only pick it up a handful of times throughout your year, that is enough. I guarantee it will help you each time you pick it up and flip through is sweary and helpful pages.

So yes, this is my shorter than usual, review and ramblings wrap up for this fantastic book. It is a must read, even if you think you don’t suffer from anxiety, this book will have something in here that will help you out.

Thanks for reading!

Julie

Uncategorized

December Wrap Up

Well, what a busy month this has been, and honestly, I read more than I thought I would get time for! Before we get started, I just want to say that I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a safe and happy New Year! Now, let’s get to it!

 

9780545224901_mresThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater

5/5 Stars!

If you have seen any of my previous blog posts about this book, you will already know that I fell head over heels for it. Lock, stock and barrel, I am obsessed with it. There is something magical about an island in the middle of nowhere, with mythical horses born of the sea. A young man, wiser than his years, with a knowledge and passion for said horses. A young woman who is filled to the top of her head with courage and a need to prove herself for her family. This book is amazing and is definitely up there as one of the best books I’ve ever read.

 

 

27268998New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson

3/5 Stars

This book had been on my radar for a long time, I had seen it all over Bookstagram and lots of positive reviews on GoodReads. When it was sent out in an OwlCrate box, I figured it was time that I read it! However, I did have a few issues with this title, more to do with the pacing, the writing style and the un-likability of the protagonist. That being said, it is a good read and I will be reading the next book to see what happens, purely because the last 50 pages really lifted the entire feel of the book.

 

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Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart

4/5 Stars

This book intrigued me, as this year there have been a lot of releases about lying, fraudulent activity, hiding who you really are, etc. So naturally this title demanded to be read. In true e. lockhart fashion, this book was incredibly well written, engaging and fast paced. However it was hard to keep up with the constant change of perspective, with the murdering and the no consequences of any illegal actions. But I think that is the point. It is designed to be entertaining and take you on a ride. I did enjoy it, but there was a point near the end where I said to myself, ‘what the heck have I read?’.

 

51JcHGZ6ERL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_New World: Ashes by Jennifer Wilson

3/5 Stars

Well, I don’t really know where to start with this one..This book actually made it onto two lists! It also features on my Books That Let Me Down This December Post! Click HERE to read!

If you haven’t read my post that I mentioned in the above sentence, it let me down. 290 pages were literally us watching as Phoenix is tortured, forced to fight children, forced into electro-shock therapy, conditioning, you name it, she went through it. It was hard to read, and it left me feeling traumatized and stressed because of it. That being said, the last 40 pages were amazing. It picked up the pace, the characters grew, the dialogue got interesting. And then the book ended. So I’m going into New World: Inferno with no expectations, I just hope that the torture aspects are gone..

 

38464193More Than We Can Tell By Brigid Kemmerer

5/5 Stars

This book was amazing. It was refreshing as well, within YA fiction these days, books tend to overlook the issues that seem common place, and go for the out there things. This book embraces ‘common’ issues for teens. It is modern, moving into the outlook that girls can be gamers, that they can be coders and that they can create games that hundreds of people can play. This book looks at adoption and foster homes in a whole new way. We see Rev in a loving home, we know he is adopted, but that fact only comes into it when we need to hear about his biological father. Which is another aspect that is so incredibly moving. Once again Kemmerer has created a masterpiece. Her writing style is so easy to read, the pacing is always perfect and her works are always about something current and the content always hits you on a deeper level.

 

So that was my December in books! I am pretty happy with this Wrap Up, not only because of how I enjoyed the book I read, but because I read two of the books I had on my December TBR, usually I write a TBR and then read nothing on it, I tend to choose books based on how I’m feeling. I also feel a little bad, because I have a stack of NetGalley ARCS that I was hoping to get to, and didn’t. So after I finish my current read, look out ARCS!

Have you read one of the books in my Wrap Up? Comment below and tell me what you thought!

 

Thanks again!

Julie

 

 

Personal Experiences

My Favourite Summer Reading Spot

Today’s post is one that is close to my heart, and although it may not seem like much of a big deal to start with, by the end I hope you will have a feel for its importance to me and for me. This post is dedicated to my favourite spots to read, focusing on one in particular…

Now that it is Summer here in Aus, it is also time for the Christmas holidays, my favourite time of the year. This is partly because it means it is the end of the School year and I get six glorious weeks off, to read and blog and watch tv shows to binge-worthy standards. But it also means I get to spend my time reading outside in my favourite spot. I also get to read inside in my favourite spots as well. But there is something magical about reading outside on a warm summers day.

I know us as readers are creatures of habit when it comes to our ‘spots’ for reading. I always tend to frequent the same places in my house, on my bed, on the far left end of the couch, at my desk in my candle dungeon. Always the same spots. But now the weather has warmed up, it opens up so many new possibilities! And one in particular I am super excited for!

And here it is, my ultimate favourite outdoor reading spot.

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Now let me tell you why it is my favourite place!

Other than it being rather picturesque, it just feels like home. I remember when we planted the apple tree, with my mum, pop and gran, we all dug the dirt, watered the tree, tended to it and now it is established, I still feel that family connection. I think that connection is what draws me to it each summer.

I love laying down on the soft, clover filled grass. Feeling the breeze on my skin, the warm sun on my shoulders and losing myself in the pages of a good book.

When the day gets too hot, I move into the shade of the apple tree and roll onto my back, looking up through the foliage and glimpse the bright blue of the summer sky, between page turns.

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The sounds of birds calling, the horses walking through the paddocks and the sound of cattle grazing on the hill. The leaves gently brushing against one another as a slow breeze blows through the garden.

If I look to my left, I can see the rest of my garden, the tomato plants starting to produce fruit, the raspberry canes in full bloom, with buzzing honey bees collecting and distributing pollen to the flowers. The potatoes with their deep green leaves quietly doing their thing away from prying eyes.

If I look to my right, I can see the gate that my pop made for me to go out into the horse paddock. I can see the yearlings playing in the long summer grass, their neighs to each other echoing around the hills. I see my pop’s house up on the hill, surrounded by his garden that he and my gran made from clay filled soil into a booming native filled oasis, with birds of every kind calling from the trees.

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Yes, this is my ultimate favourite place to read. It is not only doing something that I love, but it is doing something that I love, in a place that makes me feel entirely grounded, entirely at peace with the world. It is somewhere that will always feel like home.

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I want to hear about your favourite place in the whole entire world, that you like to read.

Comment below or write your own blog post, but make sure to use the tag #BookishIntoxicationWrites so that I can see it! I want to hear all about your reading spots and hopefully see them too!

As always,

Thank you for reading!

 

Julie xx

 

 

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings – New World: Ashes by Jennifer Wilson

Welcome to another session of Review and Ramblings!

If you are new to my R&R blog posts, here is a little warning to you, a warning of the spoiler kind. This post will contain spoilers from New World: Ashes and New World: Rising. So if you haven’t read either of these books and you don’t want to be spoiled, look away or click this LINK to go and read my spoiler free review on GoodReads!

 

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New World: Ashes by Jennifer Wilson

Book Depository

GoodReads

Published June 7th 2016 by Oftomes Publishing

 

Woah, this book is so much darker than New World: Rising. I am 80 pages in and the difference in the total feel of the book is incredible. I am glad we are finally calling Phoenix, Prea, it makes her feel more like a real person, not a fictional character. Which is working in her favour, I’m starting to like her now, if you can’t remember, I really disliked her in book one (You can read my review and ramblings of New World: Rising, HERE).

I am a little sick of being reminded of Triven and Mouse yet having no updates about them. I understand the books are from Prea’s point of view, but I love Triven and want to know how he is surviving. So I am hoping either Prea escapes like she plans to, or we get an alternate point of view chapter.

Also what the heck is up with the minister of the Sanctuary being Prea’s grandfather! I knew there was going to be a twist in there somewhere but I wasn’t expecting that!

The pacing in this book isn’t as off as the first one, so far anyway. It is easier to read, but maybe that is because I am used to the writing style and used to the characters.

I actually hate the way they are conditioning Prea within the Sanctuary. Her grandfather didn’t even try to get to know her, he went straight to ‘breaking’ her, to brainwashing her, stripping her of who she is and trying to find the militant soldier within her that he created when she was a child. What is truly horrific is the way that the guards are forcing her to fight children. Children as young as 10. I can’t imagine being in that situation, but I can imagine how soul crushing and defeating it would be, especially when each child reminds her of Mouse.

I feel a little conflicted, because as much as I hate seeing Prea being stripped of who she is and being forced into doing all of these horrible things, I am loving seeing her come into her own power. She has grown so strong, mentally. Yes she is being worn down, yes she is moving into a state of constant fight or flight. But she is finding herself, finding out who she is and how much she is willing to sacrifice to stay that person.

150 pages in… Is anything actually going to happen in this book? I am honestly over reading about torture, trauma, mental conditioning… It is too intense, these 150 pages have been so hard to read, just one trauma after another. Also what was the point of having Triven and Mouse killed and then having them not dead? Shock factor or just to keep us on our already shaken toes? I am glad to see Triven again, he grounds Prea which is just what she needs now. But was it necessary for us to have to go through all of that torture with her? Was it really pertinent to the story line for her to go through all of that? I guess I will have to wait and see.

Ughh and now there is a love triangle. How totally YA Dystopian… There didn’t need to be a love triangle, it is giving nothing to the story at all… I understand why Wilson thought it would be a good idea, linking Prea and Ryker in more than a childhood friend way. But it makes so much more confusion for no reason. This book is already going nowhere, why add another useless element?

Now that Prea, Triven and Mouse are leaving the Rebel safe house, things are starting to pick up… slightly. I’m still not sure how Prea managed to piece herself back together so quickly after half of the book shows her to be a broken, shadow of herself, then two chapters later she is almost back to her normal self, planning a mission to unite the tribes.

What I am enjoying about this book is the interconnecting parts. We get told so much information throughout the books that it is a little messy. But it is nice to see all of that information meet up eventually and make sense. For example, we have found out, how mouse got her scar, who Gage really is, how Prea got the scar on the base of her neck, why Prea’s parents decided to leave, how Prea lost her mind so quickly within the Sanctuary’s prison. There has been a lot that has been revealed, which doesn’t make this book a little easier to read.

That being said, in 290 pages, nothing has happened. Other than the torture I mentioned at the beginning of this review. I’m hoping something happens in the next 80 pages, or I doubt I’ll read New World: Inferno. Which would be a shame because I have read the first two books, but I also feel like it could have been condensed into one longer title? Like this book didn’t need to be an entire, single novel?

Side note, how amazing is the medicine and technology in this trilogy? It blows my mind that there is a serum that can repair broken bones, heal burns, cuts bruises and any other bodily harm that you can think of. But it also makes the characters sloppy, they know they can train or be hurt but they won’t die of infection or of their injuries. It takes away their fear of getting hurt, which makes them insensitive. It also makes the soldiers much more violent and unforgiving.

The last 40 pages of this book were amazing, they were the only thing that bumped my review up to a 3 star level. The action picked up, we saw some of the amazing relationship between Prea, Triven and Mouse again and we saw Prea coming to realise that Ryker is actually a true friend. The pacing speeds up incredibly in these last few pages, making them go too quickly.  We see Prea as her true self again, racing along rooftops, searching the skyline for landmarks, sensing movement and wrongness in the air before impact. These last 40 pages really saved this book for me. It is such a shame it took 340 pages for it to get good.

As I said in my GoodReads review, I wasn’t going to read the next book in the trilogy, New World: Inferno. But now I think I owe it to myself and to the author to complete the trilogy. I have invested in the first two novels, and I am somewhat curious to see how it all wraps up. There are a lot of unanswered questions that will need answering in the final book, and after reading this one, I am unsure if those answers will be revealed.

What the heck was the ending though!? I get it was designed to act as  a cliff hanger, but it just cut the best part of the book, short. It made it feel false and as though everything our trio worked for, was for nothing.

Also the connotation of Ashes is not what I was expecting. I didn’t expect it to be literal. Or human. Those scenes were so hard to read, as many of them were within this book.

I want to know more about Ryker, I know previously I wrote how I don’t want a love triangle between Ryker, Prea and Triven, and I still maintain that. But I think it will be an incredible shame to see Ryker snuffed out so soon when I think he could be the one thing that helps Prea remember who she was before she left The Sanctuary. He also seems like a top guy, even if he has to live two lives in order to survive and help the Rebels to create a new and better world.

All in all, I guess the last 40 pages really lifted my opinion of this book. Which is annoying because we can see that Wilson can write incredible scenes, but they happen right at the end of the book! The writing style is fantastic as is the language used, it is easy to read and you definitely can’t say that this book is lacking in plot. I am hoping, with everything crossed that Inferno keeps up the pace we saw at the end of Ashes…

Have you read this trilogy? Thoughts?

 

Julie

 

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December TBR

This TBR is the one that has me the most worried, I know I am not going to have time to finish all of these bad boys, on my list, I may not even finish two. December is always a flail-fest when it comes to finding a tiny bit of time for myself to read. But lets be optimistic, If I manage to get through 2 of these books, I’ll call it a success!

 

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  The Scorpio Races – Maggie Steifvater

Published October 18th 2011 by Scholastic Press

Synopsis: It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

This book is the only one by Maggie Steifvater that I haven’t read… and may be a little cheeky to add to my TBR seeing as I am halfway through it already…. That being said, it is an incredible read, I love the incoporation of horses and a whole new folklore surrounding them!

 

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Shadow of The Fox – Julie Kagawa

Published October 2nd 2018 by Harlequin Teen

Synopsis: One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

I received a copy of this book in an OwlCrate, I had seen a few ARC’s floating around the place and thought it sounded cool. So now that I have a copy, I thought I’d add it to my TBR. I’m hoping that the hype doesn’t turn me off the book when I start to read, so often I find myself hating books that are so hyped over on Bookstagram.

 

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LifeL1k3 – Jay Kristoff

Published May 29th 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Synopsis: On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

A dear friend of mine Tamara (Booked for the Weekend) kindly gave me an ARC of this book, before it was published. But did I get time to read it? No. So here it is, on my December TBR. I am into Sci-fi, but I haven’t really liked Jay Kristoff’s solo books. Hopefully this one is different…

 

27268998New World Rising – Jennifer Wilson

Published January 5th 2016 by Oftomes Publishing (first published August 14th 2014)

Synopsis: Worlds collide in debut author Jennifer Wilson’s graphic dystopian series where Divergent meets Mad Max.

Since witnessing her parents’ murders at the age of eleven, Phoenix’s only purpose in life has been to uphold her mother’s dying words – to be strong and survive. But surviving outside of The Walls – outside of The Sanctuary – is more like a drawn-out death sentence. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is run by the Tribes whose motto is simple, “Join or die.”

Refusing to join and determined to live, Phoenix fights to survive in this savage world. But who can she trust, when no one can be trusted? Not even herself…

The first of a trilogy, New World Rising is an epic tale of survival, instinct, trauma, and the extraordinary power of human connection.

Yet Again, this is a title that I have had in my TBR for too long, so long that the sequel has been published…

 

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What The Woods Keep – Katya De Becerra

Published September 18th 2018 by Imprint Macmillan

Synopsis: On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She’s getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it’s all catching up with her: her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.

This book was on my radar before its release. Anything that combines the supernatural, creepy woods, and a coming of age story thrown into the mix has my name all over it. But what made me buy this beauty was Jayse (ItsmeJayse) He loved it and raved about it all over Bookstagram, so naturally, I needed to have it and read it asap. I would love to get to this one this month.

 

And that brings me to the end of the list of books that I want to read this month… I also have a short list from NetGalley that I need to read also. Here they are!

Hannah Who Fell From The Sky – Christopher Meades – Publication date Dec 4 2018 by Harlequin

War Bride – Sal Mason – Publication Date August 2018 by Rapid River Publishing

The Truth Aboout Leaving – Natalie Blitt. Publication Date January 22 2019, by Amberjack Publishing.

Camouflage by Sarah Bargiela – Publication Date 21 Feb 2019 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers

I love NetGalley and am so thankful for the opportunity to read fantastic books for free, in exchange for an honest review! But NetGalley can be overwhelming if you do what I did, when I first joined and requested way too many books. Read my tips on managing your NetGalley titles HERE

 

Well that brings my December TBR to a close. There are 8 titles here, and I am under no illusions that I’ll get to them all… But I like to have a target and a list to check at the end of the month!

Are any of these books on your TBR?

 

Thanks

Julie