My Affinity For Water

Recently I’ve really wanted to be in a pool, no doubt, as a result of the recent hot weather. Going for a swim is not easy to facilitate for various practical reasons: our local public pools have been closed to due cryptosporidium outbreak. I am not sure I want to go to a public pool following this news. However, despite this I was able to find pool and steam room access at a local four star hotel.

Initially I had booked access and a pamper treatment for two. On arrival we were given towels but not offered robes and slippers, which we were prepared to pay for. I was disappointed as there was no hot tub and it later became apparent that they only had a single treatment room so actually could not offer treatments for couples together.

I did enjoy my swim, my time in the steam room and lounged, rather indulgently, on heated loungers. I opted for a ESPA full facial, which was adequate and had I not had the treatment several times before would not have noticed the therapist cut a few corners. The result of my facial was not as good as I have previously experienced and I made a note to stick to my local Malmaison beauty therapist if in need of a facial in future.

As relaxed as I was during my morning swimming session I will endeavour to find a venue with a Jacuzzi next time (my search continues) in the West Midlands area and forego treatments with unfamiliar therapists. Ideally it would be wonderful to go swimming once a week to start with but I have yet to find a pool to which I am happy to commit.

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Advance Book Review: Watching Edie by Camilla Way

Edie moved away and cut her ties with her Mum seventeen years ago, after something happened that she dares not think about even after all these years. So she is more than alarmed when her old friend, Heather shows up. Heather was also somehow part of events that lead to Edie leaving, but when she suffers with postnatal depression Heather takes care of her and her baby daughter, Maya.

However, unable to put her unease about Heather and their shared past behined, Edie asks her to leave. But soon she starts receiving anonymous phone calls and thinks Heather is stalking her. Does her old friend intend her harm?

Told from two points in time the present and seventeen years ago when the girls met, this gripping psychological thriller fills in the blanks of what happened to Edie and Heather’s friendship but will leave you haunted well after you finish reading the story.

A stunning story told with an ominous edge that will keep you up at night. This book is available for pre-order and will be published on 28 July 2016.

Links To Book:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads

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Advance Book Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Zoe Walker commutes into London like thousands of people daily. Using the same route and the same time daily, not aware of anything but the journey she’s taking. Until one day she finds an advert in the Metro with her face on it.

Somewhat in disbelief, her family think its just a likeness, but Zoe isn’t convinced and when she starts spotting familiar faces in the same ad on different days she tries to alert the authorities, but will they take her seriously?

This absolutely chilling psychological crime thriller takes full advantage of that little paranoid voice all of us have, that we keep mostly suppressed. Reminiscent of “The Book of You” by Claire Kendall, but on a larger scale, Clare Mackintosh enthralls once again in her second novel.

I particularly enjoyed reading PC Kelly Swift and her side plot was thought provoking. The crime thriller aspect of the book kept me interested as DI Nick Rampello and Kelly had an interesting partnership.

There were a couple of minor details in the book that seemed contradictory, fortunately not major plot points, but still details that needed more attention. Firstly, the author laboured the existence of an electric shower in Zoe Walker’s bathroom and then told us the family had used all the hot water when in fact electric showers heat the water as needed and are not dependent on a heated hot water tank.

Secondly, whilst trying to access the internet from a Samsung tablet, Zoe uses Safari, which is not possible as Safari is only on Apple devices. These two basic errors seemed strange enough to me to warrant a mention in my review after the deliberate mention of electric showers and Samsung devices by the author.

However, minor discrepancies aside, this thriller gave just the right balance of intrigue and goosebumps to keep me reading and interested. Definitely a must-read for those who enjoyed I Let You Go from the same author and The Book of You by Claire Kendall.

I See You is available for pre-order and will be published on 28 July 2016.

Links To Book:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads

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Suntag: The Secret Life of A Book Blogger

I’d like to thank Donna at Chocolate n Waffles Blog for tagging me and taking the procrastination of what to blog about today away. Thank you!

How long have you been a blogger?

I started blogging in December 2012, although was not sure what I was going to blog about until weeks later when I started publishing my book reviews regularly.

At what point do you think you will stop? 

When I’m too weak to stop them from prying tablets and Kindles out of my weak and feeble hands.

What is the best part?

Having a purpose and sending questions into the blogosphere knowing there are people like me, out there who will answer my call.

What is the worst part? 

Not having as much time as I would like to explore more blogs and keep on top of my every growing to-be-read pile of books.

How long does it take you to find/create pictures to use?

I usually try to keep a library of images I have taken for every occasion. Inevitably they mostly feature cats.

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Who’s your book crush? 

I don’t usually get a book crush so was surprised when I did have a crush on Ben Hope from the Scott Mariani books.

What author would you like to have on your blog?

Tess Gerritsen, I am sending this out there to cyberspace, so Tess if you are reading this and would like to make the day of an ailing ex-medic, get in touch.

What do you wear when you write your blog?

Something lose, comfortable and bohemian. Due to the warm weather I have taken to wearing linen and cotton.

How long does it take you to prepare a post? 

It varies depending on what I am trying to say. If I love a book, no time at all, but if I’m conflicted because, I wanted to like it and I just didn’t, it can take hours.

Posts that are more personal in nature can take over a day to feel ready to post.

How do you feel about the book blogger community/culture? 

I absolutely love it, I feel part of something greater and enjoy meeting new bloggers. I have never felt so inspired by a community as I do by book bloggers.

What do you think one should do to have a successful blog? 

I think you have to love blogging in all it’s forms:

Reading and commenting on other blogs everyday.
Posting regularly.
Promoting other blogs/bloggers on social media.
Reading books for content.

Just keeping at it with patience and an open mind.

Who do I want to know better?

Cathy at Between the Lines Book Blog

Marje at Kyrosmagica

Mary at Low Country Book Lover

PJ Manley at Making It Natural

Laurie at Cozynookbks

Becca at Shihtzu Book Reviews

Questioning My Avoidance Issues

I have really been affected by the hot weather this year. Most of the time if the temperature reaches above twenty-four degrees Celsius I am just mildly uncomfortable. But this year I have found myself feeling quite unwell. On further investigation with our home blood pressure monitor, we found my blood pressure fell to 99/60, with no postural drop, and at worst it was 70/54. I admit my fluid intake is compromised when I am unwell but I have made an effort to drink more with no effect in these instances.

When I am cooler my blood pressure reverts to 120/70, so I haven’t sought any medical input into these bouts of hypotension, as they are reversible and I feel well afterwards. When I am hot I am unable to concentrate and this has severely affected my reading this summer as I have fallen uncharacteristically behind on my review reading list.

I suppose this mild inconvenience reinforces I am not a robot and although I feel like pulmonary hypertension only slightly affects me day to day, it is lurking in the wings making me physiologically more vulnerable to adverse conditions.

I find myself feeling militant about these bouts of unwellness and this week despite feeling awful, I went to all my appointments and obligations, because I couldn’t let pulmonary hypertension win again and limit my life. I already feel I have lost so much from my avoidance issues.

I may not have been on top form but I was at least present for events and not curtailed at home. This for me is a huge psychological battle with not just pulmonary hypertension but also my OCD, which heavily influences me to avoid anything adversarial. In my opinion this aspect of my OCD has been the most damaging as I have limited experience in trying to overcome adverse situations because of my huge avoidance issues.

This limitation has affected my self-confidence hugely, not just in the past but now in my present too. Knowing this I am trying hard to push myself more, within reason physically, and more frequently mentally to take on situations I would habitually avoid. I’m reserving judgment on how this is going until after summer ends, but I will post about the activities I have undertaken against the shackles of my OCD soon.

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#BookReview The Evil Inside by Philip Taffs #bookbloggers

I was kindly provided with a review copy of this book by Booklover Catlady Publicity in exchange for review.

A young family move to New York to make a clean start after tragic events, but their new start is tainted by events none of them can put behind them. The results are for all in the family to decline mentally as communication and relationships become strained. Can the family endure and come through the challenges of a new country intact?

I felt a bit disappointed by this horror read once I had finished it, mainly due to the fact I severely disliked Guy Russell, who had, in my opinion, very few redeeming qualities and didn’t seem particularly committed to his family or his job, rather just his own hedonistic existence.

I didn’t find the story scary or particularly spooky and to me this read more like a psychological thriller than a horror, even though I didn’t feel the author had a particularly great grasp of psychology to call this a psychological thriller.

The positive of this book was that I was intrigued enough to be curious as to how the story would end to actually read it to the end, but I will be making a point to do more research before I accept a book as a real horror read on face value again.

Links To Book:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads

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#BookReview The Mourning Doll by Karen Joyce Kay #TuesdayBookBlog

A mild historical horror, set in the Victorian era, Sir Lincoln Rineheart is an academic and part of the nobility, which he secretly despises. At a time where chartists are raising uproar and the archaic values of the ruling classes are fighting to hold on to their superiority a cynical Lincoln is called upon to mediate when his cousin is to marry.

An unfortunate death in the would-be groom’s family changes the circumstances of the marriage and Lincoln finds himself being gently propelled in the direction of the stunning Lady Madeline.

However, there appears to be what seems like an apparition of a dark haired woman, clad in an expensive red dress that appears at the start of the book and is known to drive away staff from Lady Madeline’s ancestral home. The afterlife is a particular interest of Lincoln and he cannot help but be beguiled by this dark haired beauty and sets on a course to unravel the mystery of this unknown woman.

With much detailing of the Victorian background, this novel really does show off the extensive research the author must have done prior to writing this book. However, as much as I enjoyed the way the scenes were set and the details of each character’s life shared, it diluted the horror factor for me.

Any impetus generated by the opening scenes of a dark Victorian manor in the early hours of the morning and a frightened governess unable to sleep was lost in the the heavily laden chapters that followed.

I like historical fiction thrillers and I like horror stories, I just wish the author had decided which one was more important in the telling of this story.

The characters undoubtedly were well written and it was easy to become invested in them, especially Lincoln who is a man of contradictions and very conflicted about the world he lives in.

Overall I found myself easily lost within the pages of Victorian England but my need to be frightened or spooked was disappointing unmet at the end of this book.

Links To Book:
This book appears to have been retitled The Montague Manor and is part of The Lincoln Series, which can be read for free by Kindle Unlimited subscribers available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Goodreads

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#BookReview Red Hourglass by Scarlet Risqué #romance #thriller

Named Mary by the mother that abandoned her, called Janet by the woman who saved her from homelessness in New York and undercover on a mission as Scarlet Walters. All she’s ever wanted is to find her mother, but finds herself in servitude to the ruthless White Queen. Can she get away?

I found this compelling reading as it was quite a fast paced thriller and immensely entertaining. However, a lot of the time characters responded bombastically as if I was reading a graphic novel, which isn’t necessarily a bad read.

The love interest in this romantic thriller Carson, is frankly, a bit of a jerk, who for me lacked appeal, but I did enjoy reading Scarlet and although the conclusion was somewhat predictable, I’m intrigued enough to want to read the next one in the series.

An easy and entertaining read for those who enjoy something lighter and not emotionally draining.

Links To Book:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads

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#BookReview Cargo (Leine Basso Book 4) by DV Berkom #thriller

Probably one of the best reads in the Leine Basso series, Cargo sees Leine trying to track down an American backpacker, Kylie, who has disappeared in Thailand. Taking her role with SHEN as seriously as ever, Leine realises that Kylie won’t be the only captive she finds.

However, things do not always go as planned and Leine finds herself captive on the same boat as Kylie being shipped to an unknown destination. Forming an unlikely alliance Leine does what she does best, defeat the poor odds against her to continue her quest to find Kylie.

As much as I enjoy reading capable and dynamic protagonist Leine Basso, each book still keeps me on the edge of my seat as I wait to see how she will turn the tables and who will betray her trust as she battles alone to save the innocent.

Cargo was particularly touching and a challenging read as I find the hunting of animals deplorable and there were a few passages I found disturbing, but I do not blame the author for bringing the issue of poaching to the fore in Cargo. I feel its an issue that needs addressing and if reading this book makes another person take a stance against the destruction of beautiful animals, so be it.

Cargo is unrelenting compelling with a ruthless protagonist in Victor Wang. As usual I was caught up in the action and suspense of the story. It isn’t necessary to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this book, but you will definitely with you had, just to find out more about Leine. I look forward to reading more from one of the most capable and entertaining female protagonists in thrillers at the moment.

Links To Book:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads

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