New Year New Ideas

This year is a going to be a big year for us in my house as we will be welcoming our first baby in just a few short weeks (or whenever she decides to grace us with her presence which could be tomorrow for all I know!)
This has given me some time to start putting alot more effort into my blog before baby girl arrives. So I dug out my blog planning notebook that I got when I first starting blogging last year, but failed to start using it. Now I have been jotting down some notes on what I plan to write about in it. There is something so great about using a pencil and paper to jot and brainstorm ideas. I could never get used to using note apps on my phone or even writing ideas down on a spreadsheet.

             
             

While I was catching up with some reading on one of my favourite blogs thereadingresidence I found out that they are doing a #BringBackPaper pledge. Which I think is a fantastic idea as these days everything is very much electronic. With Ipads, smart phones, ereading devices and even smart watches!  Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with electrical devices I have a few of them myself, but I love going back to just a paper and pencil, or holding a paperback in my hand.


So my #BringBackPaper pledge is to carry on using my paper blog planner for the rest of the year and recording my blog development progress and ideas as she hopefully grows throughout the year. Oh and to keep up with my reading of course! 

The Reading Residence

Book Review: The Other Boy by Ian and Rosi Taylor

I was browsing through the Goodreads giveaways and came across this chilling supernatural novella so I entered and was lucky to have won a copy. Here is my honest review.
I am a huge fan of novellas and short stories. I think it takes a very special writer to get their story across in a limited number of words. Novellas are too long to be a short story but too short to be a novel. So perfect for reading in a day when you have a few spare hours. Unlike short stories novellas have more room to develop the characters and plot slightly more. 
What fascinated me about The Other Boy by Ian and Rosi Taylor was at first the mysterious yet also chilling and scary cover, then I read the blurb and thought, wow this looks like a great little read! So when I was lucky enough to win a copy I was over the moon!
                     

Book Description

Desperate to save their crumbling marriage, Will and Alice Harding retreat to an isolated cottage in the English countryside.

A landscape of standing stones and holy wells provides perfect fodder for the fertile imagination of their seven-year-old son, Toby. Toby vanishes before his father’s astonished eyes only to reappear, with an impossible explanation for his disappearance. 
Soon, Alice notices that her son is different, changing into a monstrous stranger. Her fears are compounded when a hooded figure is seen skulking around their troubled new home. Over the days that follow, Alice fears for her own sanity, as local tales of dark magic and sacrifice appear to be true. 
Will suspects that his wife is mentally collapsing as a result of his past infidelity. With their marriage stretched to breaking point, the Hardings stand to lose more than just each other, as Toby deteriorates further with every passing hour, feeding the vengeful spirit of… The Other Boy 
My Review

Husband and wife Alice and Will have moved with their 7 year old son Toby to a remote part of the countryside to have a new start and hopefully save their marriage. Creepy things start to happen when Toby goes missing in front of his fathers eyes in an empty field while they are out exploring. This is when the novella really starts kicking up a gear and gets more frightening by the minute. Folklore, magic, paganism and local tales all play a part in this novella. 
For the limited amount of words available I believe that the plot doesn’t suffer at all, although the character of Simon who is the families neighbour could have been developed more. I would have loved to have found out his background and how he came to live at Boggarts Hall by himself.
The Other Boy is a well written novella and one myself I couldn’t put down until the end. Highly recommended for that quick fix of horror, magic and the supernatural.

I have given The Other Boy by Ian and Rosi Taylor 5 out of 5 stars.
Paperback Edition 126 pages
Published 10th November 2015 by Dark Chapter Press
Rachel xx

Disclaimer:  All the views and opinion’s expressed are my own. Book Description taken from Goodreads for the purpose of this review only.

MamaMummyMum

Looking Back Over 2015

2015 has been a very up and down year for me but there are a few things that have turned the year around. It was back in March that I started my little blog up. I had a very trying January and February so decided to take my mind off things by starting blogging. I wasn’t quite sure where my niche would be in the world of blogging, so I decided to blog about what I love to do and that is entering competitions, reading any type of book and gardening. So Book Lover, Competition Addict and Gardening Enthusiast was born. I am still not 100% happy with the name so that is something I’m going to work on this year.

I have won lots of competitions throughout this year as feel so lucky to have done so, although around the summer I took a bit of a comping break due to the severe morning sickness I had and the tiredness that crept upon me. 
Which leads me on to the best part of 2015 and that was finding out I was pregnant with our first baby – a girl! 
She could arrive any day now that I’m 37 weeks so the word excitement is very understated at the moment! 
As soon as I hit my second trimester I began to feel so much better and had that enthusiasm to enter as many baby competitions as I could and I won quite a few great things. The biggest baby win was winning the toddler bed, it is so adorable with a bears face as the headboard. I went on to win lots of nappies, baby clothes, a couple of changing bag sets and various nappy rash creams and ointments. Not forgetting for me, a mum to be pregnancy pamper set, nursing bra, bump band and a maternity nightdress. 

         

Before I started my maternity leave ( which officially started yesterday!) I took my 4 weeks annual holiday due to me from work which started at the beginning of December. This was perfect for me as I had lots of time to rest up and enter all the advent competitions I could find. But unfortunately I had very little luck this year and only won a set of sauces and chutneys on a Twitter advent competition. I did better winning on the ordinary competitions throughout December. These included a set of childrens books, chocolates, a case of 9BAR energy bars, a necklace and a DVD. 

                           
            
I wish you all lots of luck and a Happy New Year.
Rachel xx

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Book Review: The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

I have been seeing lots of great reviews around for The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne and I couldn’t wait to read it. There has been lots of adverts around Facebook and Twitter regarding this book for a few months so I thought why not give it a go? I am sure I’m not alone in having a fascination with twins and reading about their strange connections with each other.
                   The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

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Book Review: Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk

When I first saw the cover of this book I thought the title was a little strange. What does Method 15/33 mean? With a picture of a pair of hands tied up with rope does not give much away to the reader. I was eager to find out what it’s all about.
Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk
Book Description:
 
Imagine a helpless, pregnant 16-year-old who’s just been yanked from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van. Kidnapped Alone Terrified.

Now forget her …

Picture instead a pregnant, 16-year-old, manipulative prodigy. She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn son and to exact merciless revenge.

She is methodical, calculating, scientific in her plotting. A clinical sociopath? Leaving nothing to chance, secure in her timing and practice, she waits for the perfect moment to strike. “Method 15/33” is what happens when the victim is just as cold as the captors.

The agents trying to find a kidnapped girl have their own frustrations and desires wrapped into this chilling drama. In the twists of intersecting stories, one is left to ponder. Who is the victim? Who is the aggressor?
My Review:
 
The book is fairly short, and action packed with great characters. The main character is a very heavily pregnant 16 year old, who is creepily calm about her situation. Her kidnappers want only her baby to sell on and have no need for her at all. She is very methodical in studying her surroundings cataloging everything around her which could be used to her advantage. This is really smart and gives you an insight to what she is really like, and won’t give up without a fight.
The girl makes it really hard to connect with her as a reader as she seems quite emotionless and cold at times. I did struggle with this. As an avid reader I love to connect with the main characters in a novel.
The author has written a well described physchological thriller and a great page turner. The plot is fairly simple but the details surrounding the girls plot to escape with the numbering  of things around her can get a bit confusing.
I have given Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk 3 out of 5 stars.
Hardback Edition 226 pages
Published 5th May 2015 by Oceanview Publishing
Rachel xx
Disclaimer: I was given this hardback edition to read and review free of charge by Oceanview Publishing through Tomoson. All opinions and views expressed are my own. Book description  taken from Tomoson.com for purpose for this review only.

Book Review: Terminal Life by Richard Torregrossa

When i first spotted this book, I really liked the look of the cover and with the little description of a suited hero novel. This made me think that the hero of the story is very smart, business- like and immaculately dressed. A different type of hero to the normal costume dressed heroes that are ten a penny nowadays.    
                  


Book Description

Luke Stark, a Special Forces veteran, returns home from his second tour in Afghanistan to learn that his wife has been mysteriously murdered and his son has disappeared. These tragedies, in addition to suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, push him over the edge. He has also been diagnosed with an incipient form of cancer, but he forgoes treatment, a decision that is akin to a slow suicide.

Although he lives in a shelter, he wears an impeccable suit, an eccentric characteristic that sets him apart from his fellow down-and-outers and just about everybody else. He is nicknamed, somewhat ironically, The Suited Hero.

Revenge and the search for his son spark a kind of rebirth in him that is as cathartic as it is brutal. This leads him into the dangerous world of illegal prescription drug distribution, where nobody in this gripping mystery crime thriller— not even some family members—is who they appear to be.
This book is a very enjoyable action/suspense/thriller, and one that I read pretty quickly. The main character Luke Stark is a great hero and you can’t help but feel for him in his unfortunate circumstances. There are some fabulous action scenes with a little gore included, but this gets offset by a romance element which for me was a welcome change from all the action.
I would definitely recommend it as a fast paced summer read, I was wanting more at the end though so would love to see a few sequels. The author has a fantastic character in Luke Stark and I for one would read more of his adventures. 
I have given Terminal Life by Richard Torregrossa 5 out of 5 stars.
Hardback Edition
Published 2014 by Oceanview Publishing
Rachel xx

Disclaimer: I was given this hardback edition to read and review free of charge by Oceanview Publishing through Tomoson. All opinions and views expressed are my own. Book description and bottom image taken from Tomoson.com for purpose for this review only.