Blog Tour: The Sad Ghost Club - Lize Meddings

Blog Tour: The Sad Ghost Club – Lize Meddings

Ever felt anxious or alone? Like you don’t belong anywhere? Like you’re almost… invisible?

Find your kindred spirits at The Sad Ghost Club.

When BookMark asked if I’d like to be part of their blog tour for The Sad Ghost Club, I jumped at the chance. I requested to read an early copy of the book because I liked the art style and thought the idea sounded sweet. The team at Bkmrk got in touch asking for my address, I mentioned it would be a great distraction as at the time I was in isolation with Covid. Not only was Becci kind enough to send me The Sad Ghost Club, she also sent across a few other books that I was so looking forward to. That kindness meant the world. Anyway, I digress.

For anyone who has felt depression or anxiety, who’s felt like they’re going through the motions because they don’t feel entirely present, you’ll be seen within the pages of this book. While reading I could feel myself nodding, remembering times where everything has felt so urgent and terrifying, while I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it.

The first half of this book will make you feel less alone, less weird, because I know for certain that in my toughest times with my mental health I felt not only lonely but also like there was something wrong with me. The experience being put on a page does wonders.

The second half of the book will do something even better, it’ll give you hope – something I think we’re all in need of right now. The good news, and something that you’re reminded of while reading is that there are others like you and, actually, people who understand can make really good company. We all have our stories, quirks and oddities – we’d be really boring if we didn’t, but it’s what makes us work.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a shorter read and, for me, it was something I could pick up and go through without having to think too much, which is great when you have a foggy brain. If you want to find out more you can also see the other stops on the blog tour below!

Thank you to the publishers and author for my copy in exchange for this post.

Surviving...But Thriving?

Surviving…But Thriving?

It’s the last week of January, but it definitely feels like this month has lasted triple that amount of time. I know for a fact that any optimism I felt about a new year got knocked out of me when lockdown 3 started. Not the easiest time to be bashing out new years resolutions and I for one retreated into the Christmas chocolate I had.

Today I just couldn’t motivate myself. I very much got up and just felt like saying ugh. I tried to use my normal ways of getting myself out of a funk. I had a cuppa and ticked things off of my to do list, I tried going for a walk, I went out in the car and popped out to get things from the supermarket with my music on. Nothing seemed to work. No matter what I did I just felt ‘meh’.

It is more than enough to be just getting through the days right now. To not be building a side hustle, cooking new healthy meals or going for a daily run is perfectly normal. It’s ok if your days consist of taking it hour by hour and seeing how you feel. I for one am on am emotional loop de loop where I can feel great and motivated in the morning and by lunch time feel frustrated, angry or deflated. There’s no one way to get through this.

Here in the UK we’re in our 3rd lockdown and I’ve seen a lot of people say this one hits harder – which I agree with. In the first one it was scary and uncertain but at least it was light and there was decent weather, we could go out for a walk or at least open the windows. The second was promoted to us as a way to ‘save Christmas’ (because that worked so well), because of that I think it had a little hope. This one is harder, January is a long month, the days are dark and it’s cold out – no wonder people are struggling right now!

Personally I’ve started something small for myself, I try and write down 3 things a day that have either made me happy or that I’ve done. It can be as simple as writing got through another day, had a shower, ate dinner. Other days things are happier, I might have had a nice call with someone, played with the hamsters and read a book. All these little things will add up.

Surviving is more than enough. Getting through the days and coming out the other side is more than enough. Finding yourself eating more ice cream than normal? Go for it. Having early nights most nights? I’m jealous. Binge watching everything you can? Let me know what’s good! As long as it’s not hurting you or anyone else, do what you need to do.

Be kind to yourselves out there!

10 Poetry Collections And Novels In Verse To Try If You Liked Amanda Gorman’s Performance

Yesterday while watching President Biden’s inauguration I, like many others, was completely blown away by Amanda Gorman reciting her poem The Hill We Climb (as a side note her coat was amazing and I want to find one just like it).

Poetry is something a lot of people say they struggle with. I’ve loved poetry for a long time and even had a piece published myself (#humblebrag) – I think Amanda may have just woken thousands of people up to the fact poetry doesn’t have to be old and boring. It can be new, fun and exciting. It can give hope.

Because of this I wanted to share some of my favourites to get you started including both novels in verse and poetry collections because you may like one more than the other.

Novels in verse

Novels In Verse

Gut Feelings – C.G Moore

Explored chronic illness through poetry that packs a punch and a new release .

Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

One of my favourites of 2020, full review here.

The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta

Growing up, coming out and becoming fabulous in drag, full review here.

Moonrise – Sarah Crossan

Will make you ugly cry, family and the US justice system.

The Girl And The Goddess – Nikita Gill

Another of my 2020 favourites, mythology, womanhood and growing up.

Poetry Collections

Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur

One you’ve probably heard of. A good one to get you started with shorter poetry.

Nobody told me: Poetry and Parenthood – Holly McNish

I don’t have kids but I felt this one to my core, it also made me laugh, review here.

Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately – Alicia Cook

Combining two of my favourite things, music and poetry in one collection.

Grief Is A Thing With Feathers – Max Porter

Deals with grief and bringing up a family alone, not the cheeriest but still good stuff.

I’ll leave you with the stunning poem and the reminder she has a collection out in September 2021!

Heading To The Aisle – 1 Year To Go…Again

Right now, I was meant to be sat in a beautiful hotel with my Mum and a few of my bridesmaids, maybe we’d be having dinner or a few drinks to celebrate my last night as an unmarried woman. Of course, that isn’t happening and I find myself starting my 1 year countdown to my wedding…again.

Back in October we decided that as soon as our venue would let us we were postponing our wedding because of the impending restrictions, and seeing as we’re now in lockdown again I’d say we made the right decision. If you’d have told me in the first lockdown in England I would end up postponing my wedding I would have thought you were mad. Almost year later and still dealing with lockdowns?

Oh what a poor sweet summer child.

While I can’t say I was happy to make the decision, we were relieved at that point. As you can imagine trying to save for a wedding during a pandemic when you’re trying to keep yourselves afloat doesn’t really happen. With the relief though came real sadness, deep heavy sadness, although it came a little later. I desperately wanted to marry Ali after so long together and waiting until 2022 (the only date we could do and get) and having to pay more for it just hurt, which also lead to cocktails and crying.

There are silver linings though, we’ve got more time to save, there’s a few ideas for things I’d like to do that I now have time for and, of course, we can have a safe wedding with people we love. I also proceeded to eat all the chocolate once I had my sense of taste and smell back without being nervous about my dress doing up – so that’s a win.

I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow, probably a little sad but we will get married, and after 12 years together I think 1 more year is going to be ok.

What I Read In December 2020

What I Read In December 2020

December was a funny month between moving house, the flip-flopping over Christmas tiers, having covid while attempting Blogmas it was a fun time and I wasn’t sure how much reading I’d actually get done but between Christmas and New Year while I couldn’t really do much I found some excellent books.

I’ve been chatting to Yousra on Twitter for a while and was lucky enough to be sent a copy of her debut novel, Hijab and Red Lipstick, about a young woman who moves from London to the golf and how it changes her life. This is loosely based on Yousra’s own experiences and I learnt a lot while reading. I also absolutely adored Sara and really felt for her throughout the book.

A short poetry collection, Bloom very much falls into the category of Instagram poetry and the layout is beautiful. Some of these poems really spoke to me while others were a little more difficult to connect with. If you’re looking for a short collection I’d recommend it.

I finally went back to where it all began for Alice Oseman with Solitaire, I much prefer these covers when I was originally released I didn’t pick it up because it looked like it was to do with gaming – which it’s not. It was lovely to see where Alice started and I adored this book and can see why it was so popular.

I also read Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall which has been buzzing around on BookTube for a while so I preordered it. It’s an interesting read covering what it’s like to be in a secret relationship, but also to grieve when you can only do so privately. I found it to be ok but felt there could have been more too it.

Next up were two poetry/ verse collections. Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh is a novel in verse about a young women as she goes to college and learns about who she is, this was ok but to me it just seemed lacking, particularly in the second half of the book. I picked up Halsey’s first poetry collection I Would Leave Me If I Could because I love her lyrics and music. I think because she is a lyricist these didn’t work as well on paper as poems, not for me but I’m still a huge fan of her music.

Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal was also a gift, it had an interesting concept and a shorter read, if you’re looking for something kick with a feminist edge then this would be a good read for you.

I ordered The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls in the Waterstones sale after seeing it in the shop (don’t you miss browsing in bookshops?!). I’ll admit I was drawn in by the beautiful cover but the plot, set just after WW1 and the Spanish Influenza, and is about a young woman who found herself pregnant while her soldier boyfriend was presumed dead. After giving the baby to her mother he is revealed to be alive and will be home for Christmas, wanting to know why his sweetheart didn’t return his letters upon learning he’s alive. I adored this book, it’s short but so well written and easy to imagine.

I got a copy of The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige in my December Illumicrate box. I hadn’t heard of it be before but witches, sororities a cool over – I was in. This was excellent, it made me remember why I love books about witches and magic so much. It also worked really well within a modern setting and I’m really looking forward to the second in the duology, which will hopefully be released in 2022.

Did you get much read in December? Let me know in the comments below!

Top 10 Books of 2020

Top 10 Books Of 2020

What’s better for the first post of 2021 than books? One of the saving graces of 2020 was the books I fell into. At final count I read 125 books a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, audiobooks. Trying to choose from all of those books which were my favourites was not easy.

Let’s get cracking and see which books I was hopelessly in love with last year.

The Girl and the Goddess – Nikita Gill

This is kind of a poetry collection but also a novel in verse that also incorporates Hindu mythology. It was absolutely stunning and you watch the life of a young girl from before she’s born up until she’s a young woman. There are some content warnings for this too, so make sure if you have any sensitivities to look them up. I couldn’t put this down and I know a lot of people felt the same.

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

This book has been everywhere and for good reason. From Dolly Parton tweeting about it to BookTube exploding and it is so, so deserved. This is a novel about life, death and the choices you make in life. Every now and again, there are books that come into your life at exactly the right time. Like many people I struggled with my mental health during lockdown and had too much time in my own head.

Matt Haig is an incredible author, I’ve read 3 books of his previously and loved them all. It’s the way in which he understands and see’s the world. I finished the novel and felt like I was going to be ok, like things were going to be ok eventually.

There are also trigger warnings for this novel, after all, the main character is someone who is suicidal.

The Invisible Life Of Addi LaRue – V.E. Schwab

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Victoria Schwab as an author and as a human being. Addie is a book that has been spoken about for a long time, long before I knew about her. It’s also quite possibly the best book she’s ever written. I adore Addie, so much so that I am getting an Addie LaRue tattoo in January.

It’s so brilliantly written and clever. The fact that we see Addie’s growth from a young woman who makes a desperate bargain with a god, to a woman who has lived over 300 years and experienced more than we can even imagine. Also can we talk about Henry – lovely, lovely Henry who I cared about deeply. I also want to get a cat and call it Book. You can read my review here.

The Only Plane In The Sky, The Oral History Of 9/11 – Garrett M. Graff

This is a detailed history of 9/11 from people all over the country, those with the President, those who were in the towers themselves, family members, people who watched along, pilots who were instructed to shoot down any other suspected threats. It’s an important read and something I think should be used to teach later generations.

Dear NHS 100 Stories To Say Thank You – Edited by Adam Kay

If we ever needed a year to show the importance of the NHS it’s this one. Edited by This Is Going To Hurt author Adam Kay, this is a collection by many well known names that raised money for our wonderful National Health Service. I loved it so much I bought a second copy straight away and gave it to my Nanna.

Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin

So, I got this for Christmas last year and it sat on my book case. I had a piece of magic sat on my shelves and I’m so glad I got to it this year – and that I read it after the second book was released because I could move straight on to it once I finished. What happens when a secret Witch and a Witch-Hunter get forced to marry? I love this book and the ending I did not expect at all. Chef’s kiss.

Hold Still – Nina LaCour

It was really hard to pick which Nina LaCour book to make my pick for the year – I’ve read 3 of her novels this year and enjoyed all of them. Hold Still hit differently though, it’s about the grief of losing a best friend to suicide and trying to find yourself afterwards. Beautifully written and it will stay with you for a long time after reading.

Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

I’m so glad I tried Elizabeth Acevedo again! I was one of the (very few) people who struggled with The Poet X, but I picked up With The Fire On High and loved it, so I had to get Clap When You Land and was lucky enough to get an arc.

Novels in verse are hidden gems and I thought this was spectacularly written. Both girls perspectives were a great read and, if anything, I want to know what happens next!

Good Girl, Bad Blood – Holly Jackson

This is another book where I wish I hadn’t waited so long to pick it up! I read both A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and Good Girl, Bad Blood in the summer and I can’t wait to read the third book in the series in 2021.

I had to choose between the two but this got the top spot because I found the idea so fascinating. I can’t say much about the plot and why I loved it so much – that’s one of the only things about mysteries and thrillers you can’t say anything! I’ll have a review out next year!

Heartstopper, Volume 3 – Alice Oseman

I’ve read 1 graphic novel, 2 novellas and 1 novel by Alive Oseman this year – Nick and Charlie were in all of them so it only seemed right that they fit into my top 10. Volume 3 see’s Nick and Charlie go to Paris with their school. As well as exploring the city, this is where things also get a little more serious. You can read my review here and volume 4 comes out in 2021!

What were some of your favourite reads in 2020? Let me know in the comments below!

Dear 2020, It’s About Time You Leave

Dear 2020,

I don’t know why I’m starting with formality when, quite frankly, you’ve been more than a bit of a bastard. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see the back of a year, nor have I been more relieved not to have to ‘celebrate’ on New Years Eve.

There were a lot of plans I made for you, things I’ve been waiting for for a long time. I think it was the same for a lot of people. When the virus hit China I followed what was being said, it was just like the flu right? Some people got really sick but most people were ok. Oh, what a sweet summer child I was.

Then it spread and it spread some more, things started changing, countries locking down. Then we did too, sat in the living room watching a Prime Minister give a ‘special briefing’ we weren’t to leave the house but only until June. I’d make it until June apart from the fear of even taking my bins out, the regular paralysing panic attacks and the lack of work. Then June came and went, this thing still sticking around but it would be fine by September, I’d still go to Paris and then celebrate my birthday. I picked up my wedding dress in a mask and the count down was on, maybe this year could be saved? Nope – cancelled and cancelled, while we also lost 2 more adored pets.

The hitter came, schools reopened, we’d eaten out to help out and then cases are rising again. There are whispers – should we be cancelling our wedding? Hen dos cancelled, another lockdown in November and messages to those we know and love that the wedding is postponed another year – I’ll be a 2022 bride. Another month of hiding at home, this time packing because we have to leave soon. December you tried to kick again – a positive Covid test, days before Christmas and the unexpected passing of a beloved pet the day before the last of 2020.

In short, I’m tired. And I don’t even feel like I can complain because you’d taken so much from all of us. Loved ones, jobs, security, health, comfort. Take, take, take.

While I don’t want to thank you for ‘making me stronger’ or ‘building resilience’ (let’s be honest would rather not have had to deal with these things), I don’t want to forget knowing that I did get through it. That punch after punch I managed to keep my head above water, even if every now and again I got pulled under. I’m leaving this year battered, bruised and limping to the end but I managed it.

So, you can go – I hope what follows is kinder.

Blogmas 2020 A Bookish Christmas Stocking Tag

Blogmas 2020: A Bookish Christmas Stocking Tag!

I did this tag last year and wanted to do any updated version for 2020 and seeing as it’s Christmas Eve it seemed like the perfect time to do it! šŸŽ„

Which book is refreshing and vibrant, both inside and out?

The first book that comes to mind is The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. It’s one of the few novels in verse I’ve seen really celebrated by people that don’t normally reach for poetry. There are some harder parts but I think, ultimately, it becomes a celebration.

The next thing you see is a bag of chocolate coins. Which book have you recently bought that was expensive, but totally worth the high price.

Ok, so I didn’t buy it myself BUT I did receive a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone illustrated and created by Mina Lima which comes in at Ā£30 and it is stunning. I prefer it to the illustrated editions and I think they’ve just sucked me in if they do the whole set. Oops.

You also pull out a bath bomb. Tell us about a book that had explosive action scenes.

I don’t really read books with big action themes but I think Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson should get a shout out here for a particular chapter although I can’t really say much because of spoilers.

Next is a pack of playing cards. Which series won you over?

Wayward Children and Serpent & Dove were both knock out series for me this year. I listened to the entire Wayward Children series in little over a month back in April and then devoured the first 2 books in S&D quite quickly too.

They both have new books coming out in 2021 and I can’t wait.

You also get a candle. Which character is a symbol of hope in their story?

Eve from The Eve Illusion and Eve of Man. Not only is she the first girl born in 50 years but she also will think for herself.

There are socks inside too. Is there a book that you think really encompasses all the distinctive tropes of its genre.

I think there are so many tropes that can be used per genre so nothing especially springs to mine.

There’s also a notebook. Which author’s writing process do you find most interesting/inspiring?

Victoria Schwab is Queen. Not only do. I really enjoy her books, I also like following her thoughts and processes via Instagram – especially with her sticky note plans.

To go with the notebook, there’s a fancy pen. Is there a book or a series you’d change if you’d written it yourself?

I think I would have made Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo part of a duology. I really want to know what happens after the end.

There’s also a small bedside clock. Which book took you a long time to pick up but was worth it in the end?

Serpent and Dove!!! I got this for Christmas last year and didn’t get to it until this year, on the one hand by leaving it until just after the second book came out I could read the second straight away, on the other I went a long time without reading an amazing book.

Your pile is getting really big. You reach in to pull out the last gift and it’s…a lump of coal? You’re a little disappointed. But you look closer and realise there’s a seam running through the coal. You crack it open and sitting there inside is a tiny golden snitch. Tell us about a book that surprised you in some way.

I went through a little phase of reading romance books while in the first lockdown and I found that I really loved the story in Roomies by Christina Lauren. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did but it’s probably my favourite romance this year.

Want to share? Then consider yourself tagged!

The Christmas Gift I Really Didn't Want!

The Christmas Gift I Really Didn’t Want!

After Saturday’s post, I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue with Blogmas posts, I intended to take a day or two and see how I felt. I guess this isn’t a Blogmas post as such, but I wanted to write anyway. After feeling not quite right on Saturday with what appeared to be a bad cold and a light cough (which I assumed was my asthma responding to the cold). Seeing as I was planning to see family, I thought I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’m really glad I was.

My local test site had slots on Sunday, I went over, did my self administered test and went home, hoping I just had a cold. Monday came and went, nothing but I couldn’t taste my drink in the evening, strange. Can you see where this is going yet? Yep. Tuesday morning I woke up to a text I didn’t want. My result was positive for Covid.

Yep I got a Christmas present that wasn’t on my list and was definitely not wanted. I’m now in isolation with Ali. I cried, like many people I was looking forward to Christmas, even if it was going to be different – going to see my sister and parents but now I can’t.

Aside from Christmas I am feeling crappy, I still have a heavy cold and a bit of a cough and now I’ve lost my sense of taste and smell which I’m really hoping comes back soon because food is bland af right now. So, in some ways I am lucky – I know things could be a lot worse and I could be feeling much worse. I’m also grateful I got it checked and didn’t go and potentially infect family members! Mostly I’m sleeping it off and when I’m awake I’m reading.

So, yes a very Merry Christmas I guess!

This will probably be my last post around Christmas, I’m hoping that I can post again before the end of the year but my main goal is just getting better in the next few weeks before I go back to work in January.

Stay safe and Merry Christmas.

Blogmas 2020 - What To Even Say

Blogmas 2020 – What To Even Say

I don’t know what I planned to write tonight but anything massively festive as gone out of the window. For any of my followers outside of the UK, firstly, thank you for stopping by, secondly today we were told that new restrictions were being put in place because of the Pandemic and have effectively put a stop to Christmas for a lot of people. If you want to read the details here is a link to the BBC.

Here’s the thing, 2 days ago it was all ‘Christmas is going ahead’, we kept hearing about ‘saving Christmas’. I wish they hadn’t got people’s hopes up, that they hadn’t given a slither of hope just for it to be snatched away a few days before. I feel the anger and frustration of so many that there just doesn’t seem to be any idea of what to do or where we go from here.

Part of me wants to carry on with Blogmas but at the same time it’s hard to feel Christmassy and like celebrating at the moment. I know so many people who are going through a lot and this is just the final kick. I don’t know about you guys but it’s taking my all to put one foot in front of the other and just to keep going.

Does this even make sense? I don’t know I just wanted to say something. I didn’t want to post a load of positive things about how things will get better etc because aren’t we sick of them at this point? We need to be allowed to feel how we need to feel especially after tonight’s announcement.

I hope you’re all doing ok as you can be.