Saturday, 3 October 2015

A year on

So its been a little while hasn't it? Sorry for disappearing, I know I wrote a post saying I was taking a break I wasn't expecting to complete disappear but sometimes you have to do what is best for you not anyone else. So whats been going on with me?

As anyone who has read this blog will know about a year ago I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis which is a chronic illness and is grouped under  IBD - Inflammatory Bowel Disease along with the more known Crohns Disease (NOT and I cannot stress this enough IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome). 

Its been a hard year full of hospital visits, numerous tests and getting used to taking a cocktail of medication everyday. My husband is type one diabetic so I was use to always making sure he took his insulin with him and having the right foods around in case he needed them but it has been pretty hard getting used to me having an illness as well.

You see the hardest thing living with this is the fact I never know if my stomach is going to react to what I eat, this makes eating out hard and its now second nature for me to suss out where the toilets are before we've even sat down. To be honest it makes eating hard. Neil and I are huge foodies and I hate that we can have plans and then my stomach decides to have an attack just before we eat or just after, I cannot tell you how many episodes of shows I've only seen part of... 

Its not all bad, one of the good things of knowing I have this is we finally understand why I am so tired a lot of the time (chronic fatigue is a symptom of IBD) it does mean we maybe don't do as much as we once did but we are both happy at home playing video games or binge watching TV shows. I love you Netflix!

The last year has been difficult, as I said I am very tired a lot of the time. I work full time and find that during the week I have a wake up-go to work-come home-have dinner-go to bed routine so on the weekends I try to watch TV or do something with Neil or friends but its hard, I get super tired even only doing a few things (I think this is down to me working full time if I'm honest) and I cannot make full day plans for a Sunday as if I do I panic all day I won't feel rested enough for the week ahead - I am aware this is not a great way to be AT ALL. 

I swapped hospitals a few months ago due to moving house it was becoming more difficult to get to my old one and had my first meeting with my new IBD team last week, I was really happy with how it went and the support I felt, trust me I am aware that my UC is mild compared to others I am actually on a low dose of regular medication (with top ups on stronger ones if required) but it hasn't been nice getting to grips with it.

So yeah thats been pretty much the last year for me, I know it seems a little woe is me but I needed to get my thoughts out of my head about the last year. Aside from all my health stuff we've had a good year including moving house and spending lots of time with Enni who is not so much of a destructive puppy anymore. 

I still love to read but I don't read anywhere near as much as I used to, I would say its probably more like 2 to 3 books a month now, but I'm enjoying having no pressure and reading what I want to when I want to whether that be the latest YA hype book or a reread of a favourite or a graphic novel. I've definitely enjoyed the freedom to do and read what I want and even though I thought I would I really haven't missed blogging that much.

I'm sure I'll pop up with the odd post here and there when I can... I will try to not leave it a year next time! 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Killing Sound by Paul Southern Review / Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the Killing Sound blog tour and I have for you a review by my lovely friend and co-reviewer Alice. But before I get onto the review here is a little about the book!

Jodie is cursed with a terrible gift. She just doesn't know it yet. When she stumbles across one of her dead father's old papers on sound waves in the attic, it sets her on a terrifying journey to find out more, leading her across the streets of London to the dark, untrodden tunnels of the Underground, where she is forced to face the truth. Her worst nightmare is about to become real. Worse, she can hear it coming.

Out now, £7.99, Chicken House | 
Add to your Goodreads

What Alice thought

Killing Sound by Paul Southern follows the story of Jodie, who, after witnessing a traumatic event as a young child, finds the repercussions emerging in her later life. 

In my reading life, I strictly adhere to a policy of knowing as little as possible about a book before embarking upon it. It is rare that I do not enjoy a book, and so I like to go into them with as little ruined as possible so that I can really go along with the ride. 
In this case, I perhaps went into this one with a little too much naivety. I am not the world's greatest fan of horror movies - in fact I went through 80% of Paranormal Activity with a pillow in front of my face. Killing Sound opens with a scene that I unfortunately happened to be reading over breakfast - a situation I would strongly advise against...! This scene is possibly one of the most striking and arresting introductions to a book I've come across, and already had me questioning what I had gotten myself into. 

Along comes page 28. The cover asks you to "try it, read page 28", and I actually think this is a shame. The build up and suspense that leads UP to page 28 hugely enhances the terror and suspense I felt from it. I had to convince myself to keep reading at various points. In my opinion, some of the clever writing would be lost by reading this page on its own with no context, but it is indeed a true example of the terror this book has successfully described. 

Disclaimer - as previously implied, I scare very easily! To some this book probably will be little more than an exciting thriller, but for me it held some real terrors! 

The whole novel is written well, and the pacing survives the curiousness that is inspired in the early pages. I perhaps would have liked a little more fleshing out of the characters, although we get to know Jodie quite well, and get glimpses into some of the background of the others, I wasn't quite so attached to them as we followed the story. 
As the story wraps up, I was in two minds as to how it would end. Neither ended up coming to fruition, and it actually resulted with a few unanswered questions from me. At first I was a little disgruntled, but then I realised I was feeling the way I normally feel after watching scary films. This genre is famous for frightening their viewers without providing full explanations, and let's face it, if we had a full understanding, would it really be as scary? 

Despite originally wanted to throw this book in the freezer in a manner resembling Joey from Friends, I followed through and ended up really enjoying it, and am glad I dipped my toe into a genre I wouldn't normally touch, as they say, with a bargepole.

As you can see Alice enjoyed Killing Sound even though not being a normal read for her. If you want to see if you find it quite as scary it is out now in paperback.  

Author Information - Website | Twitter

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Nearly two months on...

*This post is going to be personal and graphic, just as a heads up*

Wow reading back over my last post I cannot believe how things can change in nearly two months. 
I haven't been very well in a long time, if i'm honest I've been sick on and off for a few years but after investigations and scopes  were done at hospital I was diagnosed with IBS given a few pointers on diet and sent on my way. I had already stopped eating meat as I thought this was the root of my problems and life continued with sometimes my stomach playing ball and other days it wouldn't but this didn't cause me many day to day issues really until a few months ago. 
I'd been having issues with my stomach again and had got to the point that every time I went to the bathroom I would have an upset stomach mixed in with blood and knew something wasn't right so I went to see my doctor and explained my symptoms. After making me do blood and stool tests the doctor confirmed I had severe anaemia and a folic acid deficiency and he wanted me to go to the hospital for another colonoscopy to see what was causing the anaemia. Two weeks ago I went to the hospital and had my colonoscopy, it was so painful and nothing like the first one I had a few years prior but this time they took biopsies, I was discharged from the hospital with a follow up appointment for last Friday. I tried to get through the week but was in a lot of pain all over my abdomen and after speaking to the hospital and my doctor they started me on some medication on a low dose. Friday came round and off I went to the hospital again and once I was sat down with my consultant I was told exactly what I was expecting I had non-specific colitis which was affecting about 25% of my bowel along the left side and I was in the middle of a bad flare up that they needed to bring under control with more medication. After speaking to the surgery consultant I was taken to meet the IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) consultant so we could work out a plan, the consultant sent me away for more blood tests to make sure I am not celiac and to check my iron levels again. I also will need to go to the hospital to have an iron infusion in the next few weeks to try and bring my levels back up to a normal amount, I need to go back in two weeks for more blood tests and to meet my IBD nurses to start working on a diet plan as things have been so bad I've barely been eating and have lost a stone in weight and at some point I need to have an MRI scan to check why I am losing folic acid. Along with the three types of medication I am taking (anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids) you can imagine this has been a lot of information to take in and the last few weeks have been both depressing and positive. 

I do feel like I am on the road to recovery and am so glad to have a treatment plan and some medication and also a good support network around me, I've been doing a little reading about colitis and know that I'm going to have good days and bad days. At the moment I am feeling quite positive and am hoping to go back to work tomorrow now that the medication has got my urgency problems under control. I am just so grateful that I have been diagnosed now so that I can try and get this under control instead of letting it control me.

Obviously because of all this going on the last thing on my mind has been reading so if I owe you a review or a post, I'm sorry I will get to it as soon as I possibly can but at the moment I really need to focus on myself and getting better.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Blogging and Me

So I'm aware this has been a little bit of a common occurrence with other bloggers recently but I have decided I will be taking a bit of a step back from blogging and reviewing for a while. To be honest this has been an odd year, for many many many reasons. I work full time, I have two days off at the weekend, I'm not a fast reader and I'm not a fast reviewer and I just don't have the time to sit and write reviews the way I use to. Before Neil and I moved I would happily spend my weekend reading and reviewing, now I pretty much get to 6pm on a Sunday and realise another weekend has flown past before I have had a chance to blink it seems. As i've mentioned before (and I'm sorry if you think I'm going on and on about it) getting the puppy was probably one of the best things we have done but she drains so much of our time where as I used to lounge around all weekend reading whilst Neil played video games now we are up by 9 every weekend and out doing stuff with the dog whether it be walks, social interactions, fun dog shows, fetes you name it we are there with her and the reason is she may only be 5 months old but we want her to be a well behaved well socialised dog and as Neil and I both work full time we both think its not fair on her to not see us all day during the week and then go out without her in the evenings and weekends. Don't get me wrong I still love reading and I love YA I just don't have the time to be up to date with the must have read or to sit for hours on end on Twitter, those days have long gone, maybe when Neil and I have brought our own place and we've settled in maybe things will be different but nowadays I'm lucky to sit down to my laptop every couple of days and as for reading - thats usually reserved for my lunch time only!

I will still read and I will still review but just not in the quantity I used to. I will still post here as well, but not everything is going to be book related anymore I'll put in the occasional personal post. I still love blogging and I couldn't bring myself to shut this site down, things aren't that drastic but I need to be realistic about my free time and I need to get back into reading because I love it not because I feel I have to be up to date with recent releases. I hope you decide to stick around and I'm sorry I won't be posting the way I used to.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Harry Potter reread

So as you all know my reading has taken a bit of a back step for a little while now due to general life getting in the way, and as my reading has slowed down i've found my love for it has also been affected. After talking this over with Alice and knowing that I have wanted to reread the Harry Potter books for SO long now we have decided to have a Harry Potter readathon together.

I have never actually reread the books which is crazy as they mean so much to me so now I have the time (and a reading buddy) I can't wait to start.

We have agreed to read no more then 8 chapters per week and will be having regular chats about the books, I will keep the blog updated with my progress and I hope that not only do I get to read this amazing books again but I will also fall back in love with reading...

Monday, 16 June 2014

Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Sam and Hannah only have the holidays to find 'The One'. Their lobster. But instead of being epic, their summer is looking awkward. They must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears of being virgins for ever to find happiness. But fate is at work to bring them together. And in the end, it all boils down to love.

Release date: 5th June 2014  Chicken House
Source: Brought

What I thought

Lobsters is a book that has been raved about by other bloggers so I decided to pick myself up a copy to find out what all the fuss was about.

Lobsters tells the story of Hannah and Sam, Hannah has her three best friends and is trying to navigate her summer with a holiday to Kavos, bitchy best friends, an over priced dress and trying to find her lobster along the way. Sam has his three best friends and is determined to lose his virginity this summer. After briefly meeting in the bathroom at a party Hannah decides that Sam is her Lobster and affectionately calls him Toilet Boy and Sam refers to Hannah as Ribena Girl, they never expected to see each other again but after a summer of misunderstandings are they really meant for each other?

Lobsters is funny, like seriously laugh out loud funny. I found myself sending photos of sections of the book to my friend (who probably thought I was crazy) because it made me laugh so much, especially the lemonade bit. 
Lobsters is told in dual narrative which works amazingly here, Tom and Lucy have written life like characters that I think any teen will relate too. It brought back memories of being 18 and going to parties and on holiday with my friends 

I loved all of the characters especially Hannah's Nan, who just made me giggle the whole time. This book kinda of made me think of an English version of the American Pie movies.

Lobsters was exactly the kind of story I was expecting but I love that it didn't disappoint me. A perfect summer read.

Friday, 13 June 2014

The Fault in Our Stars Movie Thoughts

The Fault in Our Stars movie.. wow that was a sentence I never expected to write. I have been a big John Green fan since 2009 when I stumbled upon Looking for Alaska in a bookshop in Montreal and I was introduced to the world of John Green, Nerdfighters and vlogbrothers. I never realised when I brought that book how much it would change my world but I was suddenly introduced to this amazing world of geekiness, serious Harry Potter love and books... amazingly written books that I adored. Never did I expect 5 years later for John Green to be a UK household name and I would be going to the cinema to see the movie adaptation of one of his novels.

Last night Alice and I were lucky to secure tickets for the special fan screening of TFiOS at the local cinema. I only found out on Monday that an advance fan screening was happening so I was so happy to get tickets. We turned up at the cinema to be handed a poster and a lanyard. We hurried to our seats took a look around us and beamed at the thought of sharing this film not only with each other but with other fans of the book.

So the movie... Aaaah I don't know how exactly to sum it up. It was perfection. We both had concerns about Shailene and Ansel portraying Hazel and Gus, the main reason was we had both seen Divergent earlier in the year and along with a lot of other fans just couldn't see them working as Hazel and Gus especially when we loved them so much as Tris and Caleb but within the first few scenes I adored them both and they *were* Hazel and Gus for me, I don't think anyone else could have portrayed them better.

So what did I think of the film?
Man I loved it, it was funny... hysterically so in places. There was so much John Green humour in it. It was sad... well we all knew that but it didn't just tug on the heartstrings because of the subject matter (not something I thought would happen but we all know how a novel can be lost in translation when on the big screen sometimes) It was beautiful... like really beautiful the colours and the small subtleties of the clothes to the posters in the 
bedrooms. The actors were amazing and the right choices, I loved Nat Wolff as Issac and Willem Dafoe as Van Houten. 

It was a lot funnier then I was expecting,  there was many many times where I burst out laughing (aside from the teenage girls giggling when Gus took his shirt off!) I think they got the mix between laughter and sadness spot on. I honestly believe this is a serious contender to make people see that YA books aren't just for the target market as some people believe and can and should be loved by all ages. 

If you didn't like the book that much I'd still say give the film a go, I am not usually one for book to screen adaptions as sometimes they can go so horribly wrong (The Beach anyone?) but I think this is probably one of the best ones I've ever seen especially as we are going through a huge influx of YA book adaptions I'm so glad this translated as well as it did.

Okay? Okay.