November Book Haul!

Considering I haven’t been blogging regularly for a few months, I’m a little behind on my book hauls as I bought quite a few books in that time. However, it’s too many to go through in a single blog post, so I thought I’d go back to the regular post format of only including the ones from the month before.

It was a relatively quiet month for book buying, mainly because I’m saving up for all the amazing ones coming out next year. I also gave a list to my dad that have the ones I might want for Christmas, so I can’t buy too many.

There were no physical books that I bought in the month of November, but I did buy A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir on my Kindle. I’m currently almost 60% of the way through and I am loving it! If I didn’t have to work, I would have probably already finished it. Plus, that new UK cover looks amazing, I love it!

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I’m hoping I can finish this before the weekend because I have a little TBR I want to get through during the month of December. While that was the only book I bought (for an incredible £0.99!!) I did get approved to read two 2019 releases on NetGalley and I am so excited for them. They are…

The Girl King by Mimi Yu and Descendant of the Crane by Joan He. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I was going to be approved to read either of these because so many people have been talking about them, but I’m so glad I was. These are definitely on my TBR for this month, along with a couple other past ARCs that I never got a chance to read.

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That is all for this book haul! I hope you had a great haul for the month of November and fingers crossed we all get brand new books for Christmas!

Why I’m No Longer Afraid to DNF A Book

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I love reading books because it has always provided me with an escape and I always go into one hoping that I will love it. However, that’s not always the case.

Up until recently, I have always tried my hardest to finish a book, even if I wish I could put it down unfinished. Whenever I wanted to do that, I felt guilty and I was never really sure why. I wanted to support the author, especially if I enjoy the content they put out on social media, but sometimes you just can’t click with a book. Sometimes it’s the writing style, the world building or the characters that don’t capture your attention. More than anything else, I just feel disappointed that I can’t enjoy it, especially when there are others that love it.

I’ve recently come to the realisation that I am completely okay with DNFing a book and the reason why is that life is too short to read or do something you don’t like.

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By sticking with a book I don’t enjoy, I find that my reading pace is slowed until I’m not even finishing a chapter a day, I put off picking the book up, and it puts me in a reading slump. Like most book bloggers, I have a massive TBR that only seems to keep growing with all the new books coming out, which sound amazing! I don’t want to waste my time anymore on books that aren’t for me.

Nobody ever enjoys the same book, which is something I’m learning. I bought a book I was dying to read because the reviews were incredible and everyone was saying it was the best YA Fantasy of this year. I couldn’t get halfway through it. The chapters were confusing, the world building was all over the place and the characters were just boring. I didn’t care about it and that was when I promised myself I would never feel guilty about DNFing a book again. And I won’t just be applying that to the books I buy myself, it will be to the ones given to me as ARCs as well. I have a couple of reviews to write on the books I DNFd to explain why I didn’t enjoy them, but it doesn’t mean you won’t like them. We all have different tastes and interests, so of course not every book will be loved by everyone.

Reading books I didn’t enjoy was the reason I fell into a reading slump that lasted three months and now it means I won’t reach my Goodreads goal. Forcing myself to read a book I don’t like doesn’t benefit anyone, so if you’re feeling like you need to read that book you’re not enjoying, I’m here to say it’s okay to stop. Move onto something else that could completely blow you away and become your brand new favourite. Life is to short to read books you don’t like. I just wish I’d realised that a lot sooner.

Ready for Christmas!

My favourite time of year has finally arrived and I am feeling very festive. It’s going to be a hectic month with work, but I am already looking forward to curling up on the sofa with a good book and watch the lights on the Christmas tree sparkle. Although, if I’m honest, I’m looking forward to Christmas dinner the most and there’s a special reason for that. This year is the first one where I’ll be spending it with just my boyfriend and we’ll be cooking our own dinner.

For the last four years, we’ve been switching between my mum’s house, his parents and my dad in Ireland, but since we have our own place this year, we get to try our hand at cooking the turkey. In fact, I’m way ahead of myself and I’ve already got my shopping booked to be delivered in the 24th, so everything is fresh on the big day.

I also thought I’d show you all my Christmas tree, which you might have seen if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram. It’s the first one that I’ve bought and decorated myself, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. My theme for this year was ‘Frosty Ice Princess’ which matches the main character of my book perfectly, considering she can wield the ice.

 

I get such a warm feeling inside when I see it, although I know my family thinks I’m boring for sticking to a theme compared to their tree, which is full of colour! For my first tree, I’m calling this a success. We’ve also just bought the first chocolate boxes of the year and we *might* have already had a couple.

Hopefully, you’re all looking forward to the festive season and getting ready to read some more books to try and reach your Goodreads goal (unless you’ve reached them already that is). I’ve come to the conclusion I won’t as I’ve only read 40 out of 50, but I’m still happy with that. Here’s to trying to squeeze a few more in before 2019 begins!!

 

Why I Was On Hiatus

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will have noticed I’ve been pretty absent for the last few months and I wish that hadn’t been the case. Especially because I have almost 400 followers (wow) and I want to put out quality content.

The problem is that I’ve been so stressed the last few months with new clients for my freelance writing, working on my own novel and doing art commissions that I haven’t had the time. And when I do have the time, I just want to watch TV and switch off for a while. Not the most glamorous, but it is what it is. I’m going to do a more in-depth post in the near future where I discuss my freelance career and how it’s working out for me so far (spoiler: it’s touch and go but slowly getting there)

Another reason why I haven’t been blogging is that I’ve been in a reading slump. A really bad one.

I don’t know what it is, but hardly any books have caught my attention. I even DNFd two books that I thought I would like, and one of them really disappointed me. I might do a post on those instead of full reviews to explain why because I’m not the only person that had issues with it. I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve loved in the last few months and those were Vicious by V. E. Schwab and A Court of Mist and Fury (as well as the third but it wasn’t as good in my opinion). Although, I started A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir yesterday and I am hooked! It also helps that it was only £0.99 on the kindle, so I couldn’t resist. It’s been ages since I felt like this and I’m so happy. Hence why I feel it’s time to get back into my blogging.

It’s has also made me think about what I want on my blog in terms of content. I know most of you follow me for my reviews and posts on books, but I want to incorporate other aspects of my life too. I want to talk about my own writing, tips and tricks for other people that want to be a freelancer and also show off my artwork. In the new year I want to create more art so I can one day set up a shop and sell prints, as well as taking on commissions.

In fact, I’ll put some of my drawings up so you can all see and if you’re interested at all in a commission you can drop me a comment on this post! I don’t have any Christmas slots but will be opening up for commissions in the new year.

The last few months haven’t been easy, but I’m going to make an effort to keep up with the blog and share my life with you all! It feels good to be back again.

5 Books I’m Most Excited For This Autumn

Autumn, my favourite time of the year! It is perfect for wrapping up with a blanket, a hot cup of coffee on the side and brand news books on my shelves, because there are quite a few new ones that I am looking forward to.

The last three months haven’t been great for my blog or my reading, mainly because things have been so hectic with my freelance work. However, I am finally starting to get into a routine and I want to get back to blogging again. I can’t promise there will be posts on certain days but I will be reading a lot more than I have been (because I’ve been averaging a book a month when I used to read one in 4/5 days). I have to thank Vicious by V. E. Schwab for pulling me out of my three-month long reading slump because I read that book within 4 days and it was incredible! You can expect to see a review on that very soon.

So, the books I am excited to read this Autumn are…

1. Vengeful by V. E. Schwab

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After falling in love with the first one, how could I not want to read the second one? While I may not have it in my possession yet, I will be ordering it when I get paid next week. I’ve only heard great things and some people are saying it is even better than the first! There is something about Schwab’s writing that makes her books perfect to read at this time of year. I definitely got X-Men vibes from the first book, so if you are a fan of the franchise you should check out Vicious.

2. Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

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This set of books is one of my favourite darker YA series and I cannot wait to get my hands on the third instalment. While I pre-ordered it back in July I unfortunately have to wait until the end of October to have it as I ordered it with another pre-order that isn’t out until then and I chose to bundle them together to save money on shipping. Either way, people are already loving this book and I can’t wait to see new parts of this dark world that Blake has created.

3. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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In preparation for the final book in the series, I will be reading Tower of Dawn this month and hopefully finishing it before Kingdom of Ash is released. I’ve been having issues with regards to her other series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, because it took me forever to read the second book and I am still trying to finish the third one. However, I am hoping that Tower of Dawn will be different and can get me excited to see how this series will end.

4. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

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Can I just comment on how beautiful this cover is in the white version because wow…it is my favourite! After the ending of Empire of Storms I couldn’t wait until this book was released because of that cliffhanger. This will be a huge book with 992 pages (lord help me) but I am sure it will be worth it and give the series a satisfying end and hopefully it won’t make me cry. I have no idea what to expect, but I can’t wait to read it!

5. Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

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Again, another book that I don’t actually own yet but I intend on buying it when I purchase Vengeful. I absolutely loved Nevernight because it was unlike anything I’d ever read before and completely captured my attention (and you can check out my review here). Plus, it is dark and moody which is perfect for Autumn when the nights are getting darker and everything is spookier, especially around Halloween. I’ve seen a lot of people say they were upset at the ending, which makes me even more excited to read it and find out what will happen to the characters.

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These are all the books that I hope to get to this Autumn, which gives me until the end of November to read them all. Fingers crossed I can do it! What book are you looking forward to reading the most this month?

Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

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Title: Sea Witch

Author: Sarah Henning

Publisher: Harper Collins UK

Date: 31st July 2018

I would like to start this review off by saying thank you to Harper Collins for giving me a chance to review this book on NetGalley. As soon as I heard about the synopsis for Sea Witch I instantly thought it could be something I would enjoy. I love the Little Mermaid and books that are loosely based on fairy tales are very in at the moment, but this was different. Instead of focusing on Ariel, it would be the character that would become Ursula in the Little Mermaid, but with a twist.

Evie was always the outcast, which was made worse when her best friend Anna died four years ago in a tragic accident. But Evie has a secret and when she meets Annemette, who bears a striking resemblance to her friend that drowned, Evie realises she must keep more secrets from her friend Nik, the prince. Annemette cannot stay on land for long, having cast a spell to change her fin into legs that will last four days, until she can find true love with the prince. Evie will do anything to help her new friend, even if it means harnessing her magic and risking it all.

It took me a little while to read this book and I think it’s because I was going through a reading slump, which might have affected my views on this book. I really liked certain aspects of this book, especially the setting which takes its inspiration from Copenhagen and places like that. There is even a place mentioned in the book that is real, which I thought was really cool. However, this is a very slow book until you get to the last quarter and I think that is why I struggled.

I had a hard time connecting with the characters, especially the main character Evie as it is her point of view we see from. I really wanted to love this book, but it fell a little short for me. With the premise of witches having been hunted in the past and having to hide in secret, I expected more magic and for it to be darker. Unfortunately, not a lot happens in the first two thirds apart from characters having conversations and going to parties.

However, while I had mixed feelings about Evie, I really enjoyed the scenes with Nik in them because he was sweet and charming. Exactly the kind of Prince we need in a story and it was interesting to read his interactions with both Evie and Annemette. You always get the feeling that there is something off with Annemette and as the story unravels we learn more about her, which was quite the shock later on. I love a good plot twist in a story and this had plenty!

I won’t lie, I almost stopped reading this book twice, but as it was an ARC I persevered and was rewarded with the last quarter of the book. I would actually say that the wait is worth it because it was fast paced, intriguing and there was so much going on. I was actually shocked at some of the revelations and I felt that it had the perfect ending with the epilogue.

If you are thinking about picking up Sea Witch, then you need to know that it is quite slow and not a lot of action/magic happens for the majority of the book. If you are okay with that then give this a go because the ending is worth it. I struggled trying to come up with a rating for this but I think a solid 3 stars works well.

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Let’s Catch Up…

So, if you’ve been following my blog for a while now you may have noticed that for the majority of July I was pretty absent. The last blog post I sent out was the 11th, and while I wished I had the motivation to blog…I just didn’t. I’m writing this post to explain a couple of the reasons why I disappeared and how I’m going to try my best to make this blog what it used to be. If not better.

July was a really tough month for me and a lot happened in such a short space of time that I lost a lot of motivation, not just with my blog, but also with my writing (which you all know is something I love). In the first half of the month I was ill twice, which really zapped it out of me, and towards the second half I had some personal issues to deal with, as well as being made redundant. That last one was the hardest to deal with as it happened suddenly and I didn’t have a lot of time to adjust.

Luckily, I had an amazing manager who helped me make my CV and cover letter the best it could be and I managed to get 3 interviews before my notice period was even over. I also have another one to go to this week and I’m waiting to hear back from two on whether I am being offered the job. It’s been so stressful because I’m not living at home anymore and there are a lot of bills to pay, so ideally I need someone to offer me a job this week. Somehow I’m managing to hold it together, but while all this has happened I let all my hobbies slide to the side.

I only read two books throughout the whole month, which is very unlike me and I am behind on reviewing 5 books (which probably won’t get reviewed now but I might do mini ones instead). The books I read (and that I absolutely loved) were:

However, I managed to work on my drawings as well, as I am hoping to open up a website and take commissions soon. So, if any of you are interested in that be sure to drop me a message! Here are the two pieces I worked on, one of which is completed and I gave to my mum for her 50th birthday (she cried):

In terms of my writing, it started off really well in the month and my WIP currently stands at 50,000 words. It is the story of my heart and is so special to me in so many ways. I adore the characters that I have created and I genuinely feel proud of the story, which is something I have never felt before. Then everything went bad and I stalled once I’d reached the major conflict in the novel. However, I started re-reading my work that I’ve written so far to make notes for each chapter (because I have a brain like a sieve) and it’s given me so many ideas to progress the story.

One amazing thing that came out of July is that I found myself an incredible critique partner (CP) called Noelle, and honestly, she is amazing (it just sucks that she lives in Florida). Working through my first five chapters with her has made them 100 times better and she pushes me to work harder because she knows I can do better sometimes. It’s also been incredible to get another persons viewpoint on my story and to hear that it’s amazing and has so much potential is the best thing ever. My confidence as a writer has grown and I truly believe that I could one day publish this book.

I suppose another great thing that happened recently was that I met Tomi Adeyemi, author of Children of Blood and Bone! I won’t talk about that too much as I want to write a blog post on the experience but it was amazing! I’ll just show off one picture of the book that she signed for me and the motivational words she wrote.

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There we have it! Everything that has happened over the last month or so. I just wanted to get all this off my chest and explain to you why I was gone, especially when I didn’t post that I was taking a hiatus. Also, seeing the fact that I have over 350 followers is giving me the motivation to bring you quality content. No, it may not always be book tags and book reviews, there might be the odd post thrown in about my art, my writing and how life is going in general, but that’s what I want this blog to be about.

A great way to also keep up with me is on Twitter (over here) because I am very active there and it’s the perfect place to keep up with my writing and see weekly snippets.

I can’t wait to dive back in the blogging world and catch up with all that I’ve missed!

WWW Wednesday – In Love With This Series!

I am currently writing this blog post while the World Cup is on in the background (which I am being forced to watch, but it’s fine). I also have a book next to me ready for half time because I gotta take any chance to read at the moment.

I’m so glad it’s halfway through the week already because it’s one step closer to the weekend and I can spend it reading, writing and drawing. And hopefully finish reading the book I am currently making my way through, which happens to be a very long one.

What Are You Currently Reading?

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This book is incredible. I’m already obsessed with this series, the characters and the story. I haven’t read a book like this about the Fae ever before and I am captivated by the magic of this world. I didn’t think Maas’ writing could get any better than the Throne of Glass series, but I was wrong. As the story progresses I am finding my thoughts and feelings on certain characters are changing drastically (hint: it’s Rhys). I am nearly 40% of the way through and it’s taking me much longer to read this story than others. However, I think it’s because there is so much detail in the writing and I just want to savour it. I’ll let you know my thoughts on this series soon.

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

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I know, I know, I haven’t written the review for this yet. I am so behind because life has been all over the place lately, but I am going to try and catch up soon. This book completely blew me away, which you can probably tell as I jumped into the second one straight away. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much while reading a book, but at the same time be so tense (especially with that ending). This may be another series that will go down as being one of my favourites ever, so long as the books continue this way.

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

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Is there any other book I could read? I have a feeling July will be the month that I finish a full series (if it’s a trilogy, I’m not sure), with the exception of the novella that I haven’t purchased yet. Of course, I have no idea how the second book will end, but I have a feeling it’ll be a cliff hanger for sure!

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What book are you currently reading this week?

My Top 5 Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

Can you believe we’re already halfway through the year? Where have the last six months gone?!

I’ve seen a couple of people talk about the books they’ve read so far in the year and which ones they have loved the most. Currently, I have read 33 books, which is 66% of the way through my Goodreads challenge and I am over the moon. There have been some incredible books published in the first half of the year, and I also managed to pick up a couple series that I hadn’t gotten around to.

It was way harder to narrow the 33 down to 5 because I have actually given away so many five stars reviews because the books are that good. They aren’t going to be in an order, as that would make it even harder, but my top 5 so far are…

1. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

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I was originally going to put Scythe on this list, but the second one blew me away even more than the first. I can’t stop thinking or talking about this book and I totally get why everyone loves it. The world building is fascinating and the characters are so interesting.

You never really know what is going to happen and the last 50 pages of Thunderhead were shocking, but in a good way. It means I have absolutely no idea what will happen in the third book, The Toll, and I’m even more excited for its publication date. You can check out my review for Scythe here and Thunderhead over here.

2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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I’ll tell you how much I loved this debut novel, enough that I am going to meet the author herself in less than a months time! Everything about this book was incredible. The magic system, the stakes, the plots, the characters…Everything!

There was so much hype surrounding this book, which always makes me worried, but I had no reason to be. I cannot fault Children of Blood and Bone because it was amazing. A re-read will definitely be in order before Children of Virtue and Vengeance comes out next year. Check out my 5 star review here.

3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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I only finished this book two days ago and it is already in my top 5 for the year. Why didn’t I read it before now, you ask? I keep asking myself that because it was freakin’ amazing! I think I might even love it more than the Throne of Glass series, which is saying a lot because I adore those books. I’ll be writing up my review for this book within the next few days, but I can’t get over it.

There is something so appealing about the Fae and these characters really made me feel for them. I was literally smiling as I read their interactions and I can honestly say I’ve fallen for Tamlin (although everyone says I shouldn’t and it makes me nervous). I’m over 100 pages in to A Court of Mist and Fury and I can feel my thoughts changing on certain characters when I didn’t want them to (mainly Tamlin and Rhys), but I just know this series is going to be one of my favourites.

4. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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The only downside to this book is that it is a standalone. Sky in the Deep knocked my socks off with the world building and how divided it is, the prejudice that surrounds the characters, and not to mention the fact that it has a viking influence. I grew to care so much about these characters and what they were going through as I was reading.

There are some incredible action scenes that were fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat, as well as a sweet romance that blossomed. This book has everything and it was thoroughly deserving of five stars. It is one of those that I could read again and again and never get bored. See more of my thoughts in my review here.

5. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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Can I put the Grisha trilogy in here as well? I would say all of her books deserve to be here, but I have yet to read Six of Crows,. However, I chose The Language of Thorns to be in this list as it was the first book I read by her. Honestly, it was magical, as well as being dark and deadly at the same time. I read it in one sitting, that’s how much I loved it. I just couldn’t get enough!

Each of the six stories that are included are beautifully told, and featured the most gorgeous illustrations. Bargudo is an incredible writer who made the words jump off the page and come to life for me. Will I pick it up again one day? Hell yeah! This is the kind of book I will forever keep and one day pass on to my kids if I have any. It was a no brainer to give this 5 stars, and you can check out my review here.

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I could have added so many more books, but then we would be here all night! I know that the rest of 2018 is going to be filled with some amazing reads as well, so I am dreading my end of the year top ten list!

What is the best book that you have read so far this year?

Wrapping Up The Week (2nd July – 8th July)

I have decided that I am over summer and this heatwave that we are having in the UK. It is way too hot to do anything! Not only that, but the last week has been a nightmare. Monday and Tuesday were spent curled up in bed with a fever, I went into work Wednesday, and worked from home Thursday and Friday because I couldn’t stop coughing. Having a chest infection isn’t fun.

However, over the weekend I have done nothing but rest, write, read, and do some drawing, and I am feeling so much better for it. I managed to finish my first book of the month (which took me a while to read as I was ill) but it was such a great book! I’m so far behind on writing reviews it’s unreal and now that I am starting to feel better I will be making a start on those this week. Good thing the books I’ve read recently have been so amazing and I can remember so much of them.

Books I read and reviewed…

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No reviews written, but I finished reading A Court of Thorns and Roses, and omg, I’m in love with this book. It was incredible! The amount of times I found myself just smiling as I read the words was unreal, mainly because of Tamlin. He is perfect and honestly, I probably would’ve done the exact same as Feyre to have him. I do know that a lot of people love Rhys (although he was a bit of a douche in this book) so I’m assuming he does something to redeem himself, because I am all for Tamlin at the moment. And Lucien, because he’s so snarky. Expect a long review on this book very soon!

I am currently reading…

a court of mist and fury

How could I not pick up the next book in the series after loving the first so much? I’m only 40 pages in, but already I know I’m going to enjoy it. Things don’t look so great for Feyre and I swear, if she breaks Tamlin’s heart I will not be happy. I can’t wait to delve into this world even more and discover more about the characters.

Posts from the week…

Wrapping Up June ’18 – A Very Hectic Month

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Red, White and Blue Covers

June Book Haul and Being Ill

My TBR For July – Starting New Series!

It’s a good thing I scheduled in a couple of these posts, because I would not have been able to write that much otherwise! I always find the first week of the month to be a busy one with all the wrap up posts, but I do have a couple special posts coming up very soon.

My WIP…

This week has not been a good one for my writing. Being ill throws everything off balance and I was just too sick to even concentrate on anything, what with the pounding headache and all. However, I still managed to write a bit and have reached just over 36,000 words on my novel.

It is finally starting to take shape and I am moving into act 2, which is where all the drama is going to unfold. Next up is a scene that I know will be challenging because there is a lot of action, death, and scary stuff. Kind of dreading it, but if it’s not perfect I won’t worry too much. That is what revisions are for!

Other Fun Stuff…

Over the last week I have been getting back into my art and I am almost finished with one piece! Unfortunately, I can’t show it on here because it is for my mum and I know she reads my blog posts sometimes. You’ll just have to wait and see until next week when it is completed!

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And that was my not so fun, but also kind of good week. A lot went on and I’m just glad that it is over with (especially the being ill part, although I still have a croaky voice).

I hope you all had a great week as well and if you read any amazing books, let me know in the comments!