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

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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.

Book Review: The Awakening by Stuart Meczes

I haven’t read a YA novel in a while and so when I saw this ebook of The Awakening by Stuart Meczes, I couldn’t wait to give it a go. I find YA books quick and easy to read with really great stories. This ebook is the first part of an urban fantasy series called The Hasea Chronicles. The second and third instalments are The Veil Corruption and Without A Heartbeat.

                 The Awakening by Stuart Meczes

Book Description

Alexander Eden is one unhappy teenager. A geeky, social pariah, he’s the victim of constant bullying at school. His home life isn’t much better with a stepfather who resents him and a half brother who is better than him at everything.

But that all changes the day the mysterious and beautiful Gabriella De Luca walks into his life. Everyone wants to know her, to be with her. But she is interested in Alex.
Because Alex is different.

Soon afterwards he is thrown into a world he never thought possible. A world where he and others like him are the last line of defence. A world where an ancient unspeakable evil lurks.
Evil which seeks to consume him.

DILECTI SURGEMUS – SOCII POLLEMUS
(Chosen we rise – Allied we prevail) 

The Awakening by Stuart Meczes
I have never read a fantasy series that has taken my breath away like The Awakening did with me. I have been totally hooked on this series, and as I write this I am halfway through the second instalment – The Veil Corruption. But I had to stop to write this review on The Awakening!
Stuart Meczes has created a brilliant concept of another world called Pandemonium which has endured an ‘endless war’ for centuries combining it with our world where a group called The Chosen protect our world from the evil that is trying to get across. 
The main character Alex Eden starts the story off by being a normal teenager that gets cruelly picked on at school and is subsequently a geeky loner. His life is the same everyday, trying to avoid getting picked on by the school bully. One day his life changes when a new student called Gabriella De Luca shows up in his class. From here on she helps him discover the real Alex and helps him through his ‘Awakening’. 
It is very rare for me to love absolutely everything about a book, but this is definitely one of them. It gives you the story of a journey for a young man, through love, loss and survival. 
I have given The Awakening by Stuart Meczes 5 out of 5 stars.
Rachel xx
Disclaimer: I was given this ebook to read and review free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book cover image and book cover description taken from Tomoson.com.

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Book Review: Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson

As soon as I saw the title of this book Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson, I knew I would love to read it. With Green Beans in the title I knew it would involve gardening of some sort, and I wasn’t wrong. 
I requested to read this book from NetGalley, due to the title only, before I even read the description. I am so glad I was successful. Due to it being an ebook, I’m afraid you will have to make do with another picture of my trusty Kindle! It is getting quite a few shots in these days.
        
Book Description

When Izzy Fraser’s long-term boyfriend walks out on her, she’s left in a bit of a pickle. Yes, she has the house of her dreams, but she now has a crippling mortgage to pay on her own.


So she takes matters into her own hands and, having always been a keen gardener, decides to set up Izzy’s Organics, delivering crates of fresh fruit and vegetables to local villagers.

Along the way she meets all sorts of characters, including the very handsome Erik and the very Grumpy Dan. But can Izzy sort the wheat from the chaff? And will her new business sow the seeds of change that she wants? 

The main character in this book is Izzy Fraser, she gets dumped by her cheating boyfriend and has to start making money to pay the mortgage on her gorgeous little house that she inherited from her Aunt. Izzy knows nothing about growing vegetables but she is very determined to start her own vegetable delivery box business, and somehow make her land pay for itself. 
Along the way Izzy has the help of her best friends Anna and Jess and the attention of Erik and Dan. There are lots of other characters in this book as well that you will grow to love. 
A beautifully written perfect summer holiday read that will leave you laughing and cringing in places for poor Izzy.
I have given Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson 5 out of 5 stars.
Publication date 19th May 2015
Rachel xx

Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge in exchange for a honest review. All opinions and views expressed are my own. Book cover image and Book Description taken from NetGalley .com for purpose of this review only.


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