Friday, 18 September 2020

Review of Curse Of Blood And Shadow by J.M. Kearl

Cursed with visions of death. Cursed to die. Cursed to be a bloodthirsty monster. One thing is clear at the Allied Kingdoms Academy, curses abound and no one is safe.

I was born a cursed princess. With but a touch I can foresee death.

At seventeen I’m sent to train in weapons and magic at the new academy where dangerous, deadly, and ferocious could describe any of the students, myself included. It isn't long before I foresee a boy die and realize I’m not the only one cursed. Something lurks in the shadows.
Something dark.
I must find out what it is.

The pompous, arrogant— gorgeous prince from another kingdom suspects I know something is wrong, and tries to convince me he can help. It doesn’t matter that we hate each other. It doesn’t matter that our kingdom’s rivalry is ages old, students could die. Prince Zyacus is one of the strongest and fiercest of us all but his hard heart might have one weakness— me, and I might be a target of the creatures out for blood.

My Review:  5 STARS
I picked this up because the blurb spoke to me. I’m not really a big fantasy reader, but I will say that this book pulled me in and had me stuck in the story turning the pages rapidly to try and find out what was going on, what it all meant, and how it would all end. It was an enthralling ride and will be looking forward to the second book in the series. I adored the characters, the love story and everything in between. I will have to add this author as one to watch and will be glad to jump into other stories by them. Overall, a great read!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020



 Going up against adults who think they know best when they're actually being ableist is hard to adjust to...

[ID: A graphic with a red background and the header of Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge and underneath the words: Coming October 13th 2020. The excerpt reads:
“"I am going to have to insist that from now on, the table stays where I put it. Am I clear?" She spoke in a tone that was patronising and obviously not open for any input from me.
I didn't say anything. I just stared at her. I wasn't really sure exactly what I should say to that. I hated to admit it, but I think Craig and Roe were right. My parents needed to know and to deal with this.
"Am I clear, Ms. Oliver?" she asked again, her tone more forceful.
"Y-yes," I stammered.
She raised an eyebrow. "Yes, what?"
"Yes, Ms. Gibson," I said.
At the bottom is Joey Paul, her website of and the logo of a green and purple bug in the far right corner.



Monday, 14 September 2020

Spoonie Writer: Managing Your Health



This is something I've talked about a lot before (pieces found here and here) but I'm coming at it from a different angle this time. I don't know whether I've mentioned before on the blog that I have a benign tumour in my left ring finger, and have done for a long while. It took a lot of time before I switched GP surgeries and they finally were willing to fight for me to get the tumour identified and taken out. That was over a year ago now, been scanned and all the rest, and we know it's a giant cell tumour and it's been causing a lot of nerve pain in both my left hand, and from what the surgeons tell me, also my right.

Anyway, with the back story done, I thought I would explain how managing your health as a spoonie writer can put up a lot of roadblocks that you're not used to. The pain from my tumour is quite debilitating and the tumour itself is growing and making it hard for me to use my left hand. I'd been told it wouldn't be too long a wait in January and then in March, surprise plague hit and no one knew when they'd get to it. Thanks to aforementioned awesome GP, I am now finally going through the pre-op process and will hopefully be getting the surgery this month, though you never know with the NHS, and the plague.

I can cope with a lot of things with my health, and have done so, but one thing I couldn't cope with was suddenly having to learn to type using less of my left hand than before. I had to cope with needing pain meds and maxing out on them and still being in a lot of pain. I had to cope with the lack of sleep, and mixed up schedule because the pain drains me and my sleep was never usual before. And all of that has come together with this whole new way of managing my health, of managing how I stay ahead of deadlines while also not pushing myself to breaking point.

And to be honest, I've been pretty close to breaking point this last year or so. I've had to find ways to do my work and then be ready to crash out the rest of the day because of strong pain meds. I've had to be told that there's nothing more they can do, other than remove the tumour, because of my already fragile health. And it's soul destroying and difficult, and it's just a finger, y'know? At this point, the fact that I may lose sensation in that finger doesn't both me, I just don't wanna be in this much pain all the time.

So how have I stayed on top of things, like editing, revising, drafting, and release deadlines? A lot of it has been down to how I've managed my time. I do the majority of my work first thing in the morning. I don't know if the need to not be sat up is down to the tumour or just because my other conditions wanna have some part to play in this mess, but since I know that I won't be able to sit up for long, and I know that once in bed, I will need meds at some point, my focus has been getting the chunk of work done in the early, early morning.

This might not work for you, you might not find yourself able to do that, and that's okay. My point is that there will be curve balls thrown at you and all you can do is adapt, adjust and keep going forward. It sounds so easy and yet I know it's not. I know that I didn't expect the lump in my finger to turn into this nightmare, because for a long time I was told it wasn't an issue, until I changed GP and then well, it was something that needed serious attention.

So while the surgeons have said that they'd like to fit me in during September, I don't know for sure that's going to happen. My hope is that when I sit down to post this blog (since I'm writing it at the end of August) I have a surgery date or at least some idea of when it'll happen. I'm going through the pre-op process now which means that I just need bloods, and a review from the anaesthetist and then I should be cleared for surgery. We can only hope.

What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? Lemme know in the comments below.

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Friday, 11 September 2020

Review of From The Earth by AR Colbert


Claren didn't ask to join her society's Leadership. She was forced into it. And under the watchful eyes of her superiors, she's left with no choice but to carry out a mission that will destroy everything she believes in, including the man who has her heart.

The government wants her to kill the rebels. The rebels want her to play the part and infiltrate the city's Leadership. Can she find a way to maintain the trust of both sides, or will she die trying? 

And who exactly can Claren trust?

My Review: 5 STARS
I read the first book in this series and was hooked, so of course I had to pick up book two and see where the story continued. I adore Claren, and the world Colbert has built around their characters. The story carries off almost immediately after the end of the first book, and with the heartbreak, danger and intrigue, you’re pulled along the story rooting for people along the way. Colbert has a way with words that makes you feel like you are in the story along with the characters and it’s a series I very much want to finish. Will be looking forward to book three! Highly recommended!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020




Jessie wants to help Meera, but it's hard to know what to do...

[ID: A graphic with a red background and the header of Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge and underneath the words: Coming October 13th 2020. The excerpt reads:
“I’m sorry, the last thing I wanted to do was make things harder for you,” I said, sheepishly. “Is there any chance they’ll let you stick to the study group?”
Meera glared at me. “For now, they’re buying it, but they are demanding that I stop messaging anything that’s not school related, and since we know they have access to my phone, I can’t just reach out any more,” she leaned back against the wall, sighing angrily. “You can’t just be texting me, I can’t risk this happening again! Not unless it’s actually school related.”
At the bottom is Joey Paul, her website of and the logo of a green and purple bug in the far right corner.



Monday, 7 September 2020

The Trials of an Indie Author: Burnout


I did a piece last week about running out of ideas (found here) and in that I hinted that I'd be covering burnout, as while it's something I've talked about before (found here) it makes sense to cover it again and again because as you grow as a writer, you find that your way of dealing with these things changes, and the way you come to view them changes as well.

For reference details, I have been writing for almost twenty years, have been published for fifteen, and have drafted over thirty books in that time. I am disabled with several chronic conditions that put limits on my time, so when I'm talking about things that work for me, bear in mind that there's all of that backstory to go with it.

So what is burnout? It's basically when you've reached that point, usually, after pushing yourself too far and doing too much in a short amount of time, that you can no longer be creative in the same way as you usually are. Things like NaNoWriMo are great examples of ways you can burn yourself out. It's why a lot of people talking about refilling the creative well (piece here) and why down time and breaks from writing and creating are so very important. I know that a lot of the advice out there is to write every single day, which is one of the reasons that so many newbie writers (and more experienced ones too) end up burning out so very fast.

How do I deal with burnout? Personally I take a chunk of time away from any kind of writing. If I'm in the midst of editing, that goes on the back burner, and I have to seriously allow myself to relax and refill before I got back to it. For some people that can be weeks, others it can be months. And while every writer and creative is different, personally I find that it really does depend on where in the process you are, and how far into the burnout you got before you saw the warning signs and pulled back.

How do I avoid burnout? This is where it pays to be in tune with your body, your limits, and your symptoms. Burnout can present itself differently for different people. Personally I end up with a headache whenever I write for more than a few minutes, I feel lethargic and blah that isn't all my conditions, and sometimes my pain gets worse because my body is trying to wave this little white flag and demand that I rest my brain and eyes and all of me.

To avoid it, you have to know what it presents like in you. I know when I'm starting to get burned out when I've written chapters more than four or five days in a row. I plan my time so that I know what I'm supposed to be doing when, and also how long it is until I have my next rest day. During NaNoWriMo 2019, I said screw it to my goal, and pushed myself way too hard. I wrote 32 chapters, over 80K and then I paid for it in spades. I was so tired, so drained, and so ready to just curl up in a ball and never write again, but it doesn't happen the same to everyone.

My mistake had been doing double chapter days and writing on my days off. If I'd stuck to my plan, I probably would've managed to avoid burnout completely, and that's something I've learned about myself. It's been almost a year since then, and while I used to do 24 chapters in a month, I've managed that exactly once since that November. I now do 20 chapters as standard and then occasionally, I will try and squeeze in others, and I plan to do that when I finish these books and start two new ones for NaNoWriMo 2020. But I won't be going nuts, just getting my 50K and making sure I have all the rest days in the middle.

Burnout can knock you for six, and my advice is to simply know the signs and be gentle with yourself. You need breaks, you need time off, you need to be doing what's right for you, and that means taking care of yourself as well.

If you have any tips about burnout, lemme know in the comments below!

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Friday, 4 September 2020

Review of The World That Was by Heather Carson

Life is meant for the living...

After Fawn and Brayson rush to escape the terror at The Nocere, they stumble upon a village at the base of the Ruby Mountains. Despite the back breaking struggle of the locals, Fawn soon discovers what it means to be truly alive.

But some secrets aren't meant to stay buried...

Whispered words and the chains from the past threaten to chase Fawn no matter how far she runs. The world that once was may be only a dream as reality drags her closer to her own fate.


My Review: 5 STARS
I read the first book in the series and adored it, and when the second popped up on my Kindle, I devoured it the day it was released in one sitting. Fawn’s world intrigues me and I adore her as a character, with the way everything was done, I was fully along for the ride. I loved the twists and turns, loved the bits I didn’t see coming, and adored the ending. It’s a series that I will be wanting to read more of, and can’t wait for the third book to come out. Overall an enjoyable read and one I highly recommend.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.