We experience stress every day. And although some stress is helpful to stimulate our body, left unchecked it can have a damaging effect on our mental health.
Journaling is a highly recommended stress management tool. The benefits of journaling on mental health are well researched and documented.
Using CBT techniques, mindfulness exercises and developed on an “Action-Focused Journaling” technique, this journal with self-analysing and prompts will help you to write yourself out of stress by better understanding your anxiety and its triggers, while shifting your thoughts from anxious and ruminative to empowered and action-oriented, and it will take only a few minutes of your day.
My Review –
Last year I was given this anxiety journal to review for free for an honest opinion.
I won’t lie. When I was approached by this author with this great opportunity I was both delighted and eager to read and record through this new journal. I’ve held off on reviewing it right away as I wanted to really try it out and get a real feel for it before posting my review. Not only that but Olga has to be one of my favorite authors that I got lucky enough to discover back in 2019 when I came across Heavenward and was lucky enough to become a member of the blog tour for Hallow the second installment in Ogla’s Celestial Creatures Series.
Heavenward just so happens to be my very first book review, EVER, on my blog! You can check it out HERE.
If you follow me then you already know that anxiety is a huge obstruction in my life and has been for far too many year and so I’ve started working on helping myself push through the anxiety and I’m ALWAYS looking for other management options for my anxiety.
Writing is a HUGE part of my life. Its how I was taught to best express myself and its how I do best express myself. So an anxiety journal that helps you Record, Analyse, Manage your anxiety? That just sounded like it would fit perfectly into my lifestyle. I have (I still do) use The Anxiety Journal by Corinne Sweet – which you can read my review on this HERE.
Olga Gibbs, anxiety journal gives you an easy clear cut guidance in helping you record, analyse and manage your anxiety.
Has it helped me?
In a few ways, yes. It has helped me.
When it first arrived, I was filled with a lot of optimism for many reason. Again, because my best form of expression is writing but for some reason it never occured to me to write down and record my anxiety. 2nd, because I have already come across and use an anxiety journal, it was exciting to see how these two would differ. Would it help me in the same way? Help me in a different way? I couldn’t be sure, all I could be sure of was that I could give this journal my best attempt in the hopes of being able to help myself further.
I love how this journal doesn’t tell you how your anxiety feels or meant to feel, but rather it lets you explore how your anxiety affects you and ways on how you can manage how it affects you. This journal lets you explore and see from a different point of view what YOUR symptoms towards anxiety is as everyone reacts differently and deals with things differently – the same applies to those suffering from an anxiety disorder.
And with how easy it is to record your moments of anxiety, I’ve been able to look back on the first month I started writing it in my anxiety journal by Olga Gibbs and reflect on the triggers, the reactions and find a different solution or technique to change my reaction to my anxiety.
CBT is a HUGE factor when taking yourself on this journey with Olga’s anxiety journal, as a lot of what you write and a lot of the prompts that you read are there to help direct your thoughts into a different way of thinking.
This anxiety journal eases you into focusing on the good, on reminding yourself of the positive and to help drag your mind out of that icky inky darkness that swallows you when your anxiety starts to creep up or an attack comes on.
I’m aware this review isn’t very long, and perhaps it may even be a tad short on information but that’s because as I continue to use my anxiety journal I will also be updating this post along side that. My hopes for doing my review this way is that my viewers can better see how writing through this journal changes my way if thinking, my own view on anxiety and how I react to it. If anything, I hope by doing it this way I can give you a better in depth review on this anxiety journal.
With the recent pandemic and placing going back into yet another lockdown I believe this journal could benefit a LOT of people right now and I feel as though anyone who comes across this journal will be able to take something really amazing from it.
So Until Next time, I hope you all stay safe and I can’t wait to have you back for my next post!
National read a book day is an annual event, an a awareness day that takes place annually on 6th September.
For some people (like myself), reading is our ultimate form of relaxation, where all our stress and worries deflate and disappear as we are pulled into the authors world/time that they have created for us readers.
However for other’s, when it comes to reading, it can seem like a bit of a chore. National read a book day is celebrated to help encourage all of us to take a little break to curl-up and get stuck into a good book or read out loud to the family.
National read a book day is the perfect excuse to sit back, relax and get lost in a book, whether you’re rediscovering some old favourites or delving into a new bestseller, why not take advantage of the day and sink into a good story/tale.
Before you start wondering, how on this earth am I going to read a full book in a day? There simply isn’t enough time, not enough hours in the day!
Fear not! The intention of national read a book day is to motivate you to open your mind and eyes to a book for at least a few minutes of the day. To take that little break away from work, from our lives and get lost in a fictional characters adventures instead. It isn’t necessary for you to read a book from front to back, simply reading a page is good enough.
So whether you are an avid bibliophile, an occasional reader or simply haven’t picked a book up in a while take advantage of the day, spare a few minutes or hours of your time to pick up that book you’ve been thinking about reading and finally get started.
So don’t waste anymore time, sit back, relax and open up a book!
What way’s can I get involved?
One way to get involved is to help get the little ones involved!
If you have children, then today is the perfect excuse to sit down with your little one/s and read them a fascinating tale or maybe take an hour out of your day to sit down all together to read a book. Before bed if you don’t already why not read them a bedtime story.
Did you know?
Reading is much more of a complex task for our human brain rather than, say, sitting down and watching the TV
Reading also strengthens our brains connections and can also build NEW connections
Reading improves concentration
Reading can also help children learn more about the world around them
Reading also improves our vocabulary and language skills
Reading helps develop a child’s imagination
Reading isn’t just fun but it can also be a great way to spend time together!
There are many different benefits that are associated with reading, so what are you waiting for! Go pick up that book!
*I’d like to note that this was due for the first day of the blog tour, however my laptop has tapped out on me over the last 3 or so weeks. And so, I couldn’t express just how sorry I am to be posting my review later than agreed.*
I’m so pleased to be able to tell you all that I am part of the ‘Death Bringer’ by Kelly-Marie Pollock, Blog Tour. This is the second instalment of a three part series in the, ‘Chronicles of Nova Morgan Trilogy’, Organised by the amazing Frasersfunhouse.com.
About the Author
Kelly-Marie lives in Dorset with her Husband Mitchell, four young children and menagerie of pets. She’d dreamt of being an Author from a very young age and her late Auntie Julie pushed her to follow her dreams. Kelly-Marie is a stay at home Mother, full time carer and active Parenting and Mental Health Blogger, you can find her blog over at www.amixedupmummy.blogspot.co.ukDeath Bringer is the second novel in ‘The Chronicles of Nova Morgan’ trilogy and follows the successful publication of her debut book Cherry Nova. She has also released a book of poetry entitled Forever Blue.
Cherry Nova, Book 1 in The Chronicles of Nova Morgan trilogy is rated 5* on both Amazon and Goodreads, available to purchase via Amazon and The Book Depository, free to read for Kindle Unlimited users. (I’ll be posting my review of Cherry in a few days, now that I finally have a functional laptop again).
Death Bringer is the second book in The Chronicles of Nova Morgan trilogy.
Nova may have won the fight for her freedom, but she’s far from won the war. Journey beside her, Ruth and Chaplin as they leave the gritty streets of Victorian London behind and immerse themselves in the magical living realm of Hindra.
In a world where dying isn’t forever and living isn’t easy, they’re about to unearth all manner of secrets and lies. Their mission seems clear, infiltrate the Council Chambers and free the captive, Detective Maximus Steele, bringing down The Righteous Ones as they go, but time is moving fast and as Nova comes to realise, time is running out.
From street-workerto rebellion leader, isher path one of greatness, or has it simply been paved by someone or something, far greater than her? Like pieces on a chess board, is Nova just a pawn in someone else’s game.
*Content warning – Contains adult themes including; Sex, Drug use, Profanity and Violence.*
Before I get into my review I would like to state that I, along with other participates of this incredible Blog Tour – Death bringer, were gifted a free copy of this novel in return for an honest review. All thoughts and all opinions on this blog tour are our own. (I hope by now that you all know that I would never review a book I didn’t enjoy myself or didn’t believe my viewers would enjoy it either. Nor, would I rate a novel high if I didn’t actually feel that, that’s what it deserves).
Just like the first one I have to give Death Bringer it’s well deserved 5-stars. Kelly has once again done it, she’s done something few of us can only dream of achieving…Creating another incredible novel, this follow up to Cherry Nova deserves it’s full 5 out 5 start review. Just like in ‘Cherry Nova’ we are instantly drawn into the first page of ‘Death Bringer’, Instantly snatching your attention, until you are lost to the real world and planted into the new world Author Kelly-Marie Pollock has so brilliantly created.
Noah’s gone, Soul is dead, Nova’s memories are back, and the only thing on her mind is revenge.
From being known as ‘Cherry’ – working at Lady Jaine’s Brothel on the streets of Victorian London, to becoming the ‘Lady of Death’ is not something Nova ever intended. Chasing after one of the people who saved her when she needed it most was also not on her ‘to do’ list. But when other beings start to play with your life like a chess piece on a game board, you have no choice but to take the punches to get what you want. After all, they say nothing worth fighting for is easy, love is blind, and hell has no fury like a woman’s scorn…and Nova is one woman who has dealt with more scorn than most could ever take.
Cherry Nova is the first instalment in ‘The chronicles of Nova Morgan Trilogy, set in Victorian London. Death Bringer is the second instalment from ‘The Chronicles of Nova Morgan Trilogy (a three part book series) Where, Kelly takes us from our known Victorian London world and leads us into a whole new realm that holds different rules. Ruled by a council that are as happy to hand out a punishment/banishment as a kid would be receiving candy, Nova knows her mission is no easy task. Things are going to get messy, crazy and overwhelming.
Everything seems more chaotic now, than it ever did before. With Detective Max missing, stolen from them by the monsters who have made their very existence the deadly nightmare that it has become, a new army to lead and her own emotions to manage, life for Nova is about to become a whole lot more hectic and it’s only the beginning.
Taken captive in the Hindra realm, Nova is willing to do whatever it takes to bring back detective Max, even if that means raising an army and walking through the gates of Hindra. With the help from those whose lives were affected by Noah, Nova is able to successfully raise the army she needs with the help of a drug dependence warlock – Chaplin, an old dock worker – Bucky and her trusted banished witch friend – Ruth. Death Bringer is filled with more action, more excitement, suspense and more surprises than what was hiding throughout the first instalment, which I truly didn’t expect or think possible after finishing Cherry Nova.
Reading, Cherry Nova, I was instantly hooked onto this new, exciting and phenomenal series. I was a young teen when the vampire craze started and I can safely say I have read more than my fair share of vampire fiction. I was pretty sure I’ve read it all…until I stumbled across Cherry Nova. Being sucked into Nova’s life as though I’m a front seat passenger, it was fascinating to watch Nova’s struggle, confusion, hardships,and new friendships. It’s been even more fascinating and exciting to be able to watch as Nova’s character continues to grow into a person she could only ever hope of dreaming of being in her old life.
Death Bringer picks up exactly where Cherry Nova left off, instantly thrown into another action packed scene, I knew instantly that Death Bringer was going to have me sitting on the edge of my seat while reading this new thrilling novel. With twists, turns and revelations no one saw coming, this is one vampire book that will leave you reeling while wanting more.
Kelly has an incredible mind, the world in which she has managed to create and express into words is beyond amazing. I wasn’t able to put this book down once I picked it up, spent a whole night awake reading this because I just HAD to find out what happened, page after page. It’s an instant mind gripper.
If you love a little twist on vampire fiction, love a little mystery, love a little romance, action and open-mouthed cliff hangers then I wholly recommend you look up Cherry Nova and Death Bringer by Kelly-Marie Pollock and buy both as once you’ve read one, you’ll be dying to read the next.
Before I start this post off I would like to give a big thank you to Titan Books for gifting me this beautiful copy in exchange for an honest review.
I had actually received this book a while ago but due to my massive and forever growing TBR pile, deadlines, blog stuff, business (what I’m hoping will turn out into a business) stuff and life, it’s been a little difficult to find the time to get around to reading these days.
However, I have finally managed to find the time to pick this beautifully covered book up and…. well let’s just say I give this book an easy 4/5 stars.
“Augua ór tivar. Ljá mir sýn “Eye of the gods. Give me sight”
Adrienne Young – Author of: The Girl The Sea Gave Back
For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a truthtongue. Her own home and Clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.
For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Swell are divided. should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound powers? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again – a home.
I want to start by saying just how beautiful & memorising the cover of this book is, try as I might, I can’t help but be drawn to a flawlessly elegant covered book!
Truthtongue’s have the ability to cast the rune stones, allowing them to know the future just from reading the stones and Tova just so happens to be the only truthtongue to live among the Svell Clan, a place she has never truly felt at home.
Believing her people had sacrificed her to the Gods and that the sea had carried her to where the Svell Clansmen lived. Quickly releasing her “gift”, the Svell people use Tova’s gift of reading the rune stones to tell them the fate of their loved ones – the fate of their clan.
When there is suddenly threat of war ahead, the Svell leaders turn to Tova and her gift for answers, unknowingly setting in motions that would forever change the fate and outcome of not just her but everyone around her.
With the leaders within the Svell clan begin to divide themselves for the first time in generations – some wish to keep the peace with their allied clans, whilst others are head strong for war.
As the leaders waste precious time debating what is best for their clan, Tova encounters a handsome man who just so happens to belongs to the Nadhir Clan.
For reasons unknown to them, they instantly experience a strong sense of familiarity with one another but as hard as they try, they can’t seem to recall or understand why…
Once, Tova, decides to spare his life she then begins to question herself and her place among the Svell clans people and whether she even wanted to carry out their demands.
“War is easy. His words echoed in my mind.”
Will Tova ever find herself the home she so longingly dreams of? Will she be able to find the strength within herself to be able to change the fate of the clans?
All things you can find out, when you read this phenomenal book for yourself!
The Girl the Sea Gave Back, is the new standalone novel in “The sky in the deep series and is written from the first person perspective of both Halvard and Tova, as well as a few interesting and informative flashback chapters written in the 3rd person perspective.
Tova is an engrossing and layered character who comes off a little emotionally closed off and not just because of her gift of being a truthtongue.
Tova has been through more than most could probably handle, having had such an unsure and rocky upbringing, while trying to fit into a clan who makes their distaste for her very much known.
Tova is more than capable of handling a bow and arrow and truly begins to open herself up and reveal more of who she is after meeting Halvard.
Halvard (I found out) is a character from Adrienne Young’s first standalone novel ‘Sky in the Deep’ who is part of the Nadhir clan and whose character back story I couldn’t say I fully understood due to having read Sky in the Deep (which I have every intention of remedying soon!).
I really enjoyed reading from Tova’s POV because it really allowed me to connect with her character and her story more, however, I don’t believe that it could have worked or would have worked as well without the POV of Halvard, which I too really enjoyed.
I found the flashbacks did help shed a little light on both Tova’s and Halvard’s history before the events of this book took place which I did find to be rather helpful even if it doesn’t really reveal much otherwise and with that in mind as previously stated I plan to read, ‘Sky in the Deep’ in the hopes of understanding, ‘The Girl the Sea Gave Back’ in a different and more informed light.
The Girl the Sea Gave Back does start off as a lightly slow-paced novel that on a few occasions I did find myself almost loosing my interest/attention, however, halfway through the novel the pace did start to puck up/speed up and as it did, I found myself unable to put the book back down!
The Girl the Sea Gave back didn’t hold much action, which I honestly didn’t mind, I didn’t feel as though it took away the magic or thrill of reading through this mystical novel.
I found this standalone novel to be a incredibly intriguing read and I have to say that I loved the magical touch that the runes provided in this captivating novel. I was blown away by the fantastic and gripping writing quality as well as being left hang of my seat during one of the battle scenes. Adrienne Young beautiful writing style and talent for drawing her readers in has me excited for what she has in store for us next!
If you are an author looking for someone to review your book or wanting to participate in an author interview, then please do not hesitate to contact me at: Littletinkabelle1997@gmail.com
And so it’s time for me to FINALLY release my review of this spectacular debut book ‘Blood Awakens’ Book 1 in the Awaken quartet by the equally wonderful Jessaca Willis.
True to the title of her book, Blood Awakens follow the stories of a few individuals fighting and trying to survive in a panic-stricken world where everyone runs on anxious thoughts and unexplained fear, where the strong stay strong and the weak get killed. A world where the different are more than feared, they are targeted, targeted by terror-stricken and frightened people.
People called Sean a blood guide, though he never fully understood why. As far as he knew, he could hear heartbeats and heal people. It wasn’t until he walked in on his brother’s brutal murder that he learned of the darker nature of his power: blood speaks to him, and he to it. With a simple song, he can command it to do whatever he wants, and in that moment, he showed his brother’s murderers no mercy. Now Sean must fight to keep his inner demons in check and his path to redemption begins with the establishment of sanctuary for people like him, people with powers, the Awakened.
Graciela is one of many who did not Awaken, but she’s watched as her brother’s power as an Empath—the ability to sense other’s emotions—has brought him to the brink of death. Together, they set across Central America in search of a cure, or at the very least, safety. What they find is a sanctuary called Hope, the same one Sean governs.
But they soon discover that even from within the compounds of the sanctuary, no one is safe. Not when there are people in the world with unimaginable power and insatiable bloodlust.
(Readers Note) This book is “New adult” fantasy, with moderate violence, and one or two mild curse words, but otherwise appropriate for mature teenagers and older. There is no sex or drugs in this book.
If you are looking for a “New adult” dark fantasy read with mystery, love, loss, lies, heartache, high emotions with a touch of magic and post-apocalyptic drama then this is one book you are going to want to pick up and never put down!
E-book details File size - 3210KB Print length - 328 pages Publisher - Amazon Publication date - 26th June 2019
Paper Back Details Series - The Awakened (book 1 in the Awakened Quartet) Paperback - 326 Publisher - Jessaca Willis 27th June 2019 Language - English
Blood Awakens is the first debut novel by the incredible Jessaca Willis, the first instalment of the ‘Awaken Quartet’ series.
About the Author
Jessaca is a fantasy writer, with an inclination towards the paranormal, dystopian, dark, and horror sub genres.
Growing up in the 90’s and early 2000’s, Jessaca spent her free time heavily immersed in books and shows such as Harry Potter, True Blood, The Sword of Truth/Legend of the Seeker, and Merlin, so much so that at one point she truly believed fantasy worlds were real (maybe she still does). Her passion for the unimaginable and the magnificent grew, leading Jessaca to a career in fantasy writing, with an inclination toward the dark, horror, paranormal, and dystopian/apocalyptic sub-genres.
Before she realized being an author was more than her own fantasy though, she was a wandering college student who believed in making the world a better place. She studied social work for her undergraduate and graduate degrees, and participated in a number of study abroad programs that led her to countries such as Guatemala, Italy, and Bolivia. So that her studies don’t become entirely useless, Jessaca draws heavily from her experiences abroad and from her education in human development, social institutions (race, gender, class, sexuality, etc.), mental health, and family roles, to incorporate into her novels and short stories.
Jessaca is a self-proclaimed nerd who loves cosplay, video games, and comics. She grew up and still lives in Portland, Oregon, where she resides with her partner and their fur- and human-babies.
For me the first chapter of a book is everything, especially as lately I find myself more easily distracted now than I was back in my younger days of reading.
And I have to say that during the first chapter of Jessaca’s debut novel I found myself fully immersed into Sean’s life, hook, line and sinker.
During the first chapter of Blood Awakens we are sucked into the mind and thoughts that is Sean as he makes his way home from being fired under injustice circumstances. He receives a frantic and confusing phone call unaware that that would be the start of bigger changes for him and his brother, life would never be the same for, Sean again. Through his thoughts we are able to imagine the world that he is living in, a world that feel much like the dark ages but with technology, a world where people act irrationally and impulsive. Full of fear and hate for the unknown, we really get to see the injustice world that the “Awakens” have no choice but to endure.
From the start this book had my emotion on the fray! The way that Jessaca was able to use incredible and engaging style of writing that helped draw her readers into her book and into the life of the characters she had built and gave life to.
Blood Awakens gives you a very realistic and post-apocalyptic view on what the world around us would be like if people had suddenly started to “awaken” without prompt.
Of course this book isn’t all about Sean and his tragedies in life but also the trials and struggles of other Awakened and non-Awaken (people who haven’t woken into their power) people such as Graciela who is fiercely loyal to the Awakened, even though she is one of the “non-awakened”, though I’m sure that her brother being one of them has had a help in swaying her beliefs in what is right, what is wrong, who is dangerous and who is not.
But having to watch her beloved brother live and suffer with his “gift” of being one of the Awakened has taken its own toll on poor Graciela. All she wants is a safe place for her and her brother to live out her days but with the world so caught up in their own terror, a safe place is few and far.
Blood Awakens takes you along on a suspense filled journey, with strong elements of family, loyalty, survival, drama and action, love and loss, magic and wonder that left me wanting more and kept me turning page after page! (or more accurately for me it kept me swiping on my kindle to read more!)
This wasn’t like anything I have read before and I loved it for that reason!
All the characters in this novel are extremely well written and engaging. Giving you a little glimpse each time into their lives, their thoughts and feelings, I truly felt as though I was living in a post-apocalyptic world where anyone could turn on you in a second if you were “Awakened”, where I truly experience the irrational fear to the unknown.
Jessaca’s brilliant word building skills are able to transport you into her book and into the lives of her characters.
For me Blood Awakens gets a 5/5 star rating.
If you would like to find out more about Jessaca’s books or Jessaca herself then feel free to click on one of the links below!
I have been so excited about sharing my review for Moxie as Moxie is not the typical kinda of book I usually read and was definitely far off from the usual books I’m used to reading. Due to it not being the typical book that I read I do feel the need to say that it took me a little while to get into this book but once I did?…I didn’t want to put it back down.
To get your hands on your own novel of Moxie by Alex Poppe click on one of these links below:
I don’t usually add trigger warnings as most of the books I read usually do however for the sake of my readers who do need to avoid them I thought I’d add the following:
Suicide, Depression and Alcoholism
Jax, a magazine-cover model, has had half her face destroyed in a bomb blast. Drowning in whiskey and self-loathing, she must rebuild her life now that her beauty is gone. Part love letter to New York, part commentary on social justice issues, Moxie is a timely and raw portrayal of the sometimes self-destructive search for identity and redemption.
We are instantly thrown into the vicious and toxic thoughts that is Jax who is has sunken into a deep pit of depression and is currently engaging in her toxic and resentful thoughts as she walks her short journey to adopting her new rescue dog Moxie! However it isn’t long before her new rescue dog runs away whilst Jax is out taking her on a walk.
Distraught and worried out of her mind Jax then decides to embark on an unknown and adventurous journey in the hopes of finding her new rescue dog Moxie. Along the way New York shows her all the amazing, imperfect and quirky, colourful character’s it has to offer.
As I progressed through the heart wrenching story we start to notice that this journey quickly becomes less about finding her lost dog Moxie but rather it becomes a journey to self-discovery and finding the person she is behind all the beauty, the self-loathing and toxic thoughts as she spirals into an uncontrolled self-loathings and pity, fulled with the help of all the whiskey she consumed like a life line.
The horror and trauma that Jax has had to endure throughout her life is shown to us throughout this book as well as her short-term relationships that all seem to be solely sexually driven and lacking in any emotional human connection that all eventually has it’s own emotional effect on her, leaving her feeling more vulnerable and lower than before, she is left feeling lost and trying to figure out the life she now has to live.
When reading through as previously stated this wasn’t the typical kinda of book I’d pick up and try reading. But as soon as I was able to get into it, which really didn’t take that long once I stuck with it for a few days on and off, I was sucked into Jax’s world, into her body feeling her emotions. I was really connected with Jax as the main character and truly felt as though I was on that journey to self discovery myself.
At the start I thought of Jax as a very self-loathing and someone slightly too self involved and a very mean spirited woman, but upon reading further into her story and the challenges she has overcome as well as all the new ones she now has to face she stated to grow on my more and I began to connect and understand Jax a lot better, seeing her character grow and change into (in my opinion) a better person, a better woman for herself.
This book was well and truly written with raw emotion behind every word in every paragraph and made me feel more than I expected/wanted. It was a truly outstanding and intriguing read, just the title alone: ‘Moxie’ and the cover image (as much as hate judging a book by it’s cover I feel we are all slightly guilty of that in some ways) that just drew my attention and sparked my interest. The Synopsis alone was a truly intriguing read that made me want to read this amazing book in the first place.
The writing was easy to read and very engaging, with the novels deep and meaningful story that I truly feel as though this talented Author, Alex Poppe, had done an amazing job of dealing/tackling with some emotionally hard-hitting problems with really great page turners.
All her character appear to be flawed and imperfect in their own unique way which really makes them relatable . I can say I have honestly never read a book quite like Moxie before and I don’t regret the change in genre one bit!
This is one of the few page turning, heart wrenching books I could find myself re-reading again and again just to experience such an emotionally and mentally challenging adventure. I believe my readers/viewers would instantly get stuck into this story and love it! I’d never recommend any book I didn’t like to any one and so you can be rest assured that my thoughts and opinions on any book I share is a 100% honest (that especially goes for this one!) and wouldn’t do so if I didn’t truly believe that people reading this wouldn’t love this book too, even if this isn’t the typical book you usually read!
4/5 stars from me!
About The Incrediable Author: Alex Poppe
Alex Poppe is the author of the debut novel Moxie (2019) and the story collection Girl, World (2017). Girl, World was named a 35 Over 35 Debut Book Award winner, First Horizon Award finalist, Montaigne Medal finalist, and was short- listed for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize. It was also awarded an Honourable Mention in General Fiction from the Eric Hoffer Awards. Her short fiction has been a finalist for Glimmer Train’s Family Matters contest, a nominee for the Pushcart Prize, and commended for the Baker Prize. Her non-fiction was named a Best of the Net nominee (2016), a finalist for Hot Metal Bridge’s Social Justice Writing contest, and has appeared in Bust and Bella Caledonia. She is an academic writing lecturer at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani and is working on her third book of fiction with support from Can Serrat International Art Residency and Asociacíon Cultural LINEA DE COSTA DUPLO Artist in Residency programs.
None of this would have been made possible if not for the amazing @FraserFunHouse hosting yet another fantastic blog tour! Or for the brilliant author Alex Poppe for writing and sharing with the world such an fantastic, heart wrenching page tuner of a novel!
Before releasing my book review on heavenward and my post on joining the Hallow book tour and my experience with it, I thought I’d introduce the author herself. The wonderful and amazing writer of the captivating dark fantasy series ‘The Celestial Creatures’ Olga Gibbs was kind enough to take time out of her busy scheduled to answer a few questions for us, isn’t that great?
So, I understand that You’ve published a book called Heavenward (The first book in the Celestial Creatures series) and will soon be publishing another book following Heavenward, was that planned from the beginning or did inspiration for a book series hit you after you had finished writing Heavenward?
It was originally planned as a series.
Although it was planned as a trilogy, but now it’s shaping up as four books
series. I even have titles ready for each of the books in the series:
“Heavenward”, “Hallow”, “Harbinger” and “Halo”.
“Heavenward” is a dark fantasy with elements of high fantasy and paranormal
fantasy. “Hallow” is a dark urban fantasy with some paranormal elements, and
the last two books will be high fantasy as I intend to take all the action into
my fantasy realms, into my created worlds.
Could you share with us one or more of you’re writing ritual/s?
I write every day. Every day! Every single
day that I don’t work, I pack my children off to school, have breakfast and sit
down – ready to write. No excuses. No reason was ever good enough for not doing
it. Even when I was ill (well, still sick). Every day. From 9am until at least
3pm – before children will get back from school and will need their mother – I
will sit and write. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes all that I will show for so
many hours of work is just 500 words, sometimes even less, but that doesn’t
matter. What matters is that every day I have driven my story forward.
And I don’t begin to write without a plan. I have a rough plan, then make a
more detailed one, might even expand it by the chapters (what will go where),
but I don’t begin on my story until the plan is done – I hate wasting my time.
You will see in the next two answers how valuable my time is!
Where did the inspiration behind Heavenward come from?
At first I had my character – Ariel. I had her with me for a few years now. She lived with me, inside me and one day when I was ready to write, I wondered what I could do with her – for her. Some parts of her is me. Some of her stories are my stories; some of it is from my childhood and my hurt (sorry, that’s as much as I am prepared to share now). Ariel lived an incredibly tough life and I wanted her to have something good for a change. I wanted to give her her power back and for a good measure to throw humanity in it, to put us at her mercy, to turn the table. I’ve written this book for all girls out there, like Ariel – like I was once – powerless at that moment, struggling, emotionally and mentally. With this book I wanted to tell them, that they’re an incredible universe of their own, an archangel, who can change the world if decided to do so. I wanted these girls to know that their past doesn’t have to define them – I make sure every day that it doesn’t define me. I find it incredibly sad that there are almost no books for girls like Ariel. There are books written for adults who suffered abuse, but nothing to help girls to push through, to let them know that there’s no shame, to make them feel that they’re not alone – and that’s the main issues: self-loathing, guilt, hate and utter isolation. This topic is not appropriate for YA market (or so I was told), so here we are. But I didn’t want to write a realistic book about Ariel’s abuse. I feel that someone who never lived through such things wouldn’t want to read about it, the way it would come out of me would be too disturbing. (You’ve read this book, right? And it’s me diluting it for the YA market), and girls, who lived through it, would never want to relive it, so that how this book became a fantasy. But I felt it was important to give Ariel a voice, to speak about the abuse that some girls are suffering on a daily basis. “Heavenward” is a story of empowerment and the promise of hope.
What do you like to do in your spare time if you aren’t reading or writing?
I have very little spare time. I am writing
every hour God sent. I read. I have family: husband and two teenage daughters,
who need my support and guidance every day (and help with homework for GCSE
year). I work part-time as a supply teacher in a secondary school and as a
facilitator for the fantastic charity called “Juno Project”, which is operates
in Sussex and is chaired by amazing woman, who I am proud to call my friend,
Ali Golds. I am very passionate about this charity. The “Juno Project” provides
support and empowers the girls, who are at risk from being excluded from
school, to achieve their goals in spite of their challenges. Unfortunately, my
illness precluded me from taking groups this academic year, but I am planning
to get back swinging towards end of this year.
What does your family think of your writing? Have any of them read your book?
My family is very supportive of my writing.
My husband always has encouraged me to write, but after I’ve read a few
excerpts from “Hallow” to him, he thinks that I should drop all my other work engagements
and spend my time only writing – honing my craft, so to speak. Both my girls
read my book. The eldest has read both of my books and helped me with the first
book a fair bit, mainly encouraging me, re-reading some parts back to me and
quizzing me, challenging me, demanding me to do better. The youngest started
reading “Heavenward” but she didn’t go past the scene of essence waking in Ariel.
She teared up a bit there and said that doesn’t want to read any further. Fair
enough. I always thought that if the book doesn’t bring you pleasure, you
should close it and move on. Well, for me that applies to every book, apart
from academic or research literature and documents.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Heavenward? And do you hear from your readers much? What kind of things do they say?
I guess I was surprised to find out that I have such a great imagination – to create these worlds, creatures, clothing, and disturbing to think how dark my imagination can go – how twisted it can be, and that me trying to hold myself back as I still had YA book parameters to work within. Very rarely a reader might write and say that they have enjoyed the book – I only had two to date – but these messages make me feel that I have done well and I have achieved that I set out to achieve. I love to see that some understood and saw (maybe read between the lines) what I was trying to do.
What would you say was your Kryptonite? What do you dislike writing about?
To write anything sweet and “plushy”. Cutesy things, romance, comedy, happily-ever-after stories – I don’t know how to do that. My impulse is to throw my characters into deep waters, with sharks circling them, and watch them swim. Or maybe they will drown each other?
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the good and bad ones?
That’s a very tricky one, every author will
attest to that. I am tempted to read reviews, but for the last few months, I was
learning and keeping myself away from all review platforms. With my logical
mind, I know and understand that I can’t please everyone, nobody can – that’s
simply impossible, but my heart wants to see and read reviews. I want to know
if the years of my life and work have paid off, if baring myself to the world
was worth the gamble. But I am learning to stay away – just to protect myself.
It’s a simple self-preservation.
If you had to describe your main character in three words what would those three words be?
Difficult, broken, unapologetic.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing Heavenward?
The biggest challenge was to tone the story down for YA market (and I think I have miserably failed still). I wanted to write this book for girls of age 12-18 – this book is for them. For the girls, who may need this book so they don’t feel alone, for the girls who need to believe in themselves. This book is for them.
What was your highlight writing heavenward?
The readers who said that it’s the best book they have ever read (or even if it’s just the best book this year). The readers who have appreciated the story and understood what I was trying to do.
And lastly (I swear this is the last question I have) Do you have any piece of advice or favourite quote you could share with aspiring author’s such as myself?
Just two: “Grow a thicker skin if you want to publish your story” and “don’t wait for an inspiration to hit you – start working and the muse will come”.
Wow! Thank you, Olga, for sharing with us today. I can’t speak for everyone but I can speak for myself and I have to say this is one book that helped me out of a year reading funk, kept up at night and had my emotion rushing in a whirlwind while reading through it. Considering you’ve made it to #1 in Amazon I think it’d be safe to assume that your book has reached many women and young girls who are falling in love with your story and the world that you have built within your book.
If you would like to check out the book you can now download your copy FOR FREE. That’s right, in early celebration for the release of Hallow you can now get the #1 in amazon for Teen & Young Adult girls & Women Issues Nonfiction eBooks and #1 in Teen & Young Adult Folklore & Mythology eBooks! So don’t waste anytime and CLICK HERE to be directed to your free copy. And stay tuned for the release of the next book Hallow and my book review on it.
Today I thought I would share with everyone the real truth behind my love for reading. Now I know I have told the story a few times to people on how I became so obsessed with reading after all I used to write and read my own stories when I was child, however, I hardly ever picked up a book written by another person.
But on a particularity boring day, the sun was shining, the warm weather had kicked in and so too had the start of my extreme anxiety and the start of depression. I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house that day, my step dad had decided that football would be an amazing thing to watch that day and so I ventured upstairs into my mum room (I used to nap my mums room because I always felt safer there) but I wasn’t able to go to sleep. I wasn’t able to shut out the world around me and so picked up the first book my hand touched. Which just so happened to be ‘Twilight’ by Stephenie Meyer.
I had found a new love for books that day, I was unable to place it down and ended up taking it to my room where I continued to read it through out the night with no sleep. Once that was finished I instantly picked up the next and the next and the next.
I was devastated when I finished reading all of the Twilight books. What was I going to read now? That was the first book that had ever sucked me in and made forget the world I was in and to feel as though I was in the world of someone else.
With that thought in mind I ventured back to my mums room to take a look at all the other books my mum had laying around. My mother is one of the biggest book lovers I have ever known, loved reading from an early age as a child her favourite books to read where the Grimm Tales by Jacob Grimm books. I’ve recently bought her an old book by Jacob Grimm for mothers day that I really hope she enjoys.
The next book I picked up was The Vampire Diaries Volume 1; Awakening & The struggle – book 1-2 by L. J. Smith which I had just gotten overly obsessed with. I never wanted to put the book down for even a second of my time! It was after reading these books my love for reading truly came into play and I bought book after book.
At this point in my life I had start high school and was entering probably my 5th month of being there, already started the process of distancing myself away from people, I stopped hanging out with my friends and when I did I never had anything to say or add to our conversations. It was as though I no longer cared for the social game, I didn’t care if the pretty girls like me and thought I was cool, I no longer cared if I had any of the boys attention, I no longer cared for my work or the grades that I had spent all my life working hard to get better at. I just didn’t care anymore. Life with and around humans just didn’t seem like something I could carry on doing any more. I didn’t feel human… I still don’t at times.
I tried, I tried to keep in the conversation with my friends, I tried to engage in petty talk and breaking up arguments between my girlfriends, I tried to show interest in my school crush and I really did try caring about the mark the teachers were handing back to me but everything had started to feel…. not pointless but….Insane.
It honestly seemed insane to me that we were forced to do things we didn’t want to just because we were born into this society, because the people in power have told us this is best and this is what must be done. I noticed more the older I got the less people cared for you and your well being, teachers only start caring about the marks and numbers the school is making, kids stop dreaming about becoming a singers and wrestlers and start thinking about child-care or building… I watched kids go from dreams to piratical thinking and it killed any and every magic I thought was left in the world.
I believed all magic was gone by this point. I was locking myself away, I didn’t want to interact with anyone friend, family or stranger. There were a few moments of self-harm (luckily it was all shallow and not at all something that would leave any scars), there were so many moments that I just slept away because I was so sick of being awake, of being alive and there were countless of nights/days where I thought about suicide, where I thought about all the pros to be going gone, to not being here anymore… but there was always a major con that kept me here.
My family. Who’d help look after them, who would be there for them? Who would drop everything at drop of a hat to go running to try and save the day? My mother and siblings me the absolute world to me, they’re the only people in the world that understand my crazy & weird and love me unconditionally for it anyway. I couldn’t put them through something like that, I could do that and leave them thinking there was something they could have done, I didn’t want them living with the guilt that there was something that could have been done.
But even that thought was barely keeping me on. It wasn’t until I opened up that first book by Stepheine Meyer that magic was restored back into my life, it was as if a switch had been touched and a light had come on. All the fairy-tales that become Grimm’s Tales for me became the magical, soft and vibrant fairy tales they once used to be to me.
Books have restored my love for life, its given me a reason to go on, it’s given me something to escape to when reality gets to hard and scary. The creative imagination and other worldly views created by amazing people is what’s inspired me to become a writer of my own, to become an aspiring author who will one day have her book out on shelves in shops and in photos on Instagram from those who have read/bought my creation.
If you don’t read, if you’re kids don’t read then I beg you give it try! Find them a book they will like or do what my mum taught me to do and teach your kids to write their own little stories they can read. Books saved my life in the same way music saves others. It’s restored my faith in magic and has given me a goal to focusing my energy on.
You can’t buy happiness but you can buy books, and that’s kind of the same thing…
This is one quote i have forever and always loved because it’s true, for me anyway. happiness can’t be bought but I find a little bit of happiness in every book i open, in ever page i turn and in ever new world I enter.