6 Awesome Books I’m Super Excited For In 2020

I love browsing for books, especially those due to be released soon, it’s so exciting!

2019 was full of the great, the funny, the unique and of course the bad. Books every year seem to get better and this year was no different. It’s exciting to wonder what the new year will bring and how many more books will become firm favourites.

Here are the 6 books I’m most looking forward to.


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Expected publication date – 19th May 2020

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Book Cover

Synopsis

‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.’

I love the Hunger Games series, and when Suzanne Collins announced she was releasing another book set in the same universe I couldn’t contain my excitement. I love that it’s set before the events of the first book. I’m so excited to read about new characters, and see if any original characters will make an appearance that im prepared to look past the snake on the front cover lol!.


Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Expected publication date – 3rd March 2020

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare book cover

Synopsis

‘Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.

James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.’

I know some people are fed up with the amount of Shadowhunter books there are, however, I am so down for it. I’m excited it’s set in Edwardian times and we get to see more of the past Herondale’s. Cassandra Clare has created this beautiful and infinite universe I just can’t get enough of.


Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles. 

Expected publication date – 2nd June 2020

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles book cover

Synopsis

‘In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.’

This book gives me Caraval vibes and I’m in love with that series. This book seems similar, whilst also having it’s own original aspects. I love anything to do with magic and circuses so I’m excited for this book to release.


Loveless by Alice Oseman.

Expected publication date – 30th April 2020.

Loveless by Alice Oseman book cover

Synopsis

‘Georgia feels loveless – in the romantic sense, anyway. She’s eighteen, never been in a relationship, or even had a crush on a single person in her whole life. She thinks she’s an anomaly, people call her weird, and she feels a little broken. But she still adores romance – weddings, fan fiction, and happily ever afters. She knows she’ll find her person one day … right?

After a disastrous summer, Georgia is now at university, hundreds of miles from home. She is more determined than ever to find love – and her annoying roommate, Rooney, is a bit of a love expert, so perhaps she can help.

But maybe Georgia just doesn’t feel that way about guys. Or girls. Or anyone at all. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe she can find happiness without falling in love. And maybe Rooney is a little more loveless than she first appears.

LOVELESS is a journey of identity, self-acceptance, and finding out how many different types of love there really are. And that no one is really loveless after all.’

I’m not a huge contempary fan, however, Alice Oseman is one of my favourite authors. I read her previous book Radio Silence as an ARC a few years ago and I fell in love. Her writing and character development are breathtaking and it made me fall in love with her books. She is now an auto buy author for me.


Run, Hide, Fight Back by April Henry. 

Expected publication date – 27th August 2020.

Run, Hide, Fight Back by April Henry book cover

Synopsis

‘Six teens must band together to survive after a shooting breaks out.

When a deadly shooting breaks out in a Portland shopping mall, a diverse group of teens ends up trapped behind a store’s security shutter. To her own surprise, seventeen-year-old Miranda finds the others looking to her as their leader. But she’s hiding a big secret—and she’s not the only one. The group has only three choices—run, hide, or fight back. The wrong decision will have fatal consequences.’

Whilst researching for my latest work in progress, I found my love for YA thrillers. With all the recent shootings in the last few years I think this book is relevant, I just hope the author has done it justice.


Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer.

Expected publication date – 3rd March 2020.

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer book cover

Synopsis

‘Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.

And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.

With razor-sharp prose and achingly real characters, E. Latimer crafts a sweeping, mesmerizing story of dark magic and brutal mythology set against a backdrop of contemporary Ireland that’s impossible to put down.’

Any book featuring witchcraft and I’m almost guaranteed to pick it up. I love that this book has been advertised as blended with celtic mythology. One thing I’ve wanted to see more in the Fantasy genre is representation of mental illness. I find it’s never a thing in the genre so I’m excited to see how that’ll be potrayed in this book.


What books are you excited for in 2020? 

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42 Simple Writing Prompts To Stay Creative This Christmas

Today I’m going to be sharing 42 Christmas/winter writing prompts. It can be difficult to stay creative over the festive period when it can be busy, stressful and tiring, so I hope these prompts help you to write and be inspired! These are great to practice writing, spark a new story, or poem idea.


Wreath, snow, singing
Fire, darkness, family
Ice, singing, trees
Cabin, hail, cocoa
Baubles, reindeer, houses
Tinsel, sledge, husky 
Lights, elf, snowstorm
Owl, stars, gingerbread 
Sleigh, night, stag 
Snowman, bears, buttons

Cookies, friends, bells
Stocking, blankets, animals
Presents, music, church
Pudding, joy, moon
Journey, Scrooge, carrots 
Book, mistletoe, crackers
Food, sleigh, carols
Santa, dark, icicles  
Children, gift, tree
Snow, love, reindeer 

Sleigh, huskies, presents
Chocolate, Santa, ice
Turkey, dog, night
Carols, reindeer, mrs Claus 
Niffler, tinsel, snow
Wheelchair, Santa, chimney
Chimney, snow, party
Trifle, cabin, party
Elf, December, presents
Mistletoe, Santa, sleigh
Christmas Eve/24th, gingerbread, toys
Sun, snowman, Santa

Snowman, dog, toys
Boots, reindeer, tree
Bells, carols, tree
Hope, grinch, cabin
Lapland, blizzard, sleigh
Blizzard, Santa, mice
Baubles, elf, reindeer 
Zoo, gingerbread, snowman
Shelter (animal), Santa, hope
Blanket, fire, elf 

Let me know if you use any of these, I’d love to see what you come up with.
How do you stay creative at Christmas?
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How To Help Someone Who’s Lonely This Christmas

 

So many people look forward to Christmas as it’s a time to be with family and enjoy each others company. However, some people have no-one, they spend their Christmas Day alone because they have no other option. It could be anyone, even you, your neighbour or a friend.

When I think about how it used to be for me, it makes me sad that there are people out there right now who will be spending Christmas alone. I am so lucky that I’m not in that situation anymore, I have a wonderful best friend and I now get so excited when it’s the festive period.

Below are some small often simple ways you have help lonely people this Christmas. If you long to help and make someone smile, I hope you find this post helpful..


Donate Christmas dinners to older/lonely isolated people.


Check in with people (friends, family, neighbours)

Don’t forget if you have friends or neighbours that you know will be spending Christmas alone, don’t forget about them. Give them a text, a call or even pop around if you can. Some might not divulge that their spending Christmas alone, they’ll only say if they are asked. It’s so simple to send a text or a call.


Video call family if you live long distance.

If you live far away from family members or friends and you’re not going to be around them for Christmas, video call them to wish them a Happy Christmas, send pictures or videos of kids opening their presents. You could even send them a few throughout the day, showing them your day so they feel a part of it too.


Send Christmas cards.

Many people don’t tend to send cards anymore, now that we have so much technology. However, getting a card through the post is a lovely way to let someone know you’re thinking of them this Christmas. I know it means the world to me whenever I get something special through the letterbox.


Volunteer at a care home or soup kitchen.

Elderly man's hands resting on a walking stick

If you have the time, you could think about volunteering in a care home, assisted living, soup kitchens etc. You could sit with the eldery and chat to them, some don’t have any visitors or family visit them on Christmas day, so yours might be the only friendly face they see. The homeless who visit soup kitchens for their dinner might be feeling lonely and lost, and your kindness could go a long way to help someone out.


I hope this post has been helpful to give you some ideas on how to help someone whose lonely this Christmas. 

Do you try to help people out at Christmas? Do you have any other ideas?


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How I Adapted To Needing A Wheelchair (+ Tips)

Realising you need to use a wheelchair – either occasionally or full time – can be daunting realisation, and it can feel a lot like losing your freedom.

I haven’t always been dependent on a wheelchair. Although I’ve had health problems for years, it wasn’t until my early adulthood that things escalated. In the beginning I would only use my wheelchair if I absolutely had to, but 4 years ago my legs completely gave out and I haven’t been able to walk since.

Even now, it still feels like a grieving process. I grieve for the abilities and the life I had before and for the things I can’t do anymore. It’s frustrating, embarrassing, and upsetting, and often times I find myself getting so angry at the world and myself. However, over time I have largely accepted my situation. I’ve taught myself to remember that as much as it frustrates me, my wheelchair has given me a life outside of my bed.

If you’re in a similar situation or are faced at the prospect of needing to use a wheelchair, below are some tips on what I’ve done/still do to cope with the negatives feelings…


It took me a long time to accept I needed a chair to get around. Even now, I have to focus on remembering that even though there are many things I can’t do, there are still things out there that are still achievable. Developing the ability to realise that your life isn’t over – even after becoming wheelchair bound – can help you to accept your situation and enjoy the things you are still able to do.


Surround yourself with people who don’t see your disability as something that gets in the way. People who help you live to the best of your ability. It isn’t helpful to be pushed beyond your limits but it’s just as detrimental for people to assume you aren’t capable of doing anything. An important step in accepting your disability is having people who treat you like everybody else, people who build you up instead of tearing you down.


It’s okay to grieve. It’s ok to feel like your life has been ripped from beneath you. The important thing to remember is not to let it consume your every waking moment. Feeling upset or frustrated is normal and it’s okay to feel like that. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel before letting it go. Journaling can be a good way to help you make sense of any feelings that arise from becoming dependent on a wheelchair.


No, this is not the same as giving up and it doesn’t mean you have failed. Recently I realised I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the physical/mental demands of the job I wanted. Instead I had to adjust my expectations and decide to focus on other options. Although, at the beginning it did feel like I was giving up and it was just one more thing to add to the long list of failures in my life. I eventually realised I needed to adjust the expectations I had of myself, and to stop beating myself up for things I have no control over.


I’ve received many aids/adaptations from OT I didn’t know existed and they have added to my quality of life. They’re there to help you live to the best of your ability and so you can do as many things independently as you can. Still feeling like you can be independent, at least in some aspects, can help you to feel more positive about needing a wheelchair.


Do you have any tips for people you may be struggling with accepting needing a wheelchair?

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Ultimate Mental Health Gift Guide For Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner. If you’re looking for that perfect, special gift for a loved one having a tough time you’ve come to the right place. The gifts included in this guide are perfect for anyone struggling with their mental health – whether they have a mental illness or not. Anyone can be having a tough time and it can be hard to find ways to help them through it. You don’t have to wait for Christmas, but if you’re loved one doesn’t like being made a fuss of or you don’t want to seem overbearing, Christmas is the ideal time to show someone you care.


Self care items.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive. Some ideas include bath bombs, shower gels, body lotions, candles, face masks. Basically anything that makes someone feel good or taken care of. It’s important to take time out for yourself, look after you mental health and feel good in yourself.


Weighted blanket.

Weighted blankets have many benefits, and people suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses have found them useful. They can improve sleep, help with stress, and help someone feel safe when everything is crumbling around them.


Positive quote necklaces.

I recently purchased one of these for my best friend and she loved it. She even said it helps get her through in times of heightened anxiety or stress. It can give someone something to focus on, a quote to help them through or remind them of how far they’re come. I brought this one from PennyBlackDesigns on Etsy. They are beautifully made and also very affordable.


Positivity items.

One of the hardest things to do when you’re struggling is staying positive. It can be helpful for some people to receive little things to keep them going in times of need. There are so many places that sell positivity quote items in many forms – badges, fridge magnets, original artwork and so much more. One of my favourite places to shop for this kind of thing is Art Is My Therapy – it’s run by my friend Liv, who makes handmade items and sells her original artwork. She also sells pick me up boxes with a range of items to help someone through a tough time. I highly recommend her shop – you won’t be disappointed.


Make them a crisis box.

This is the perfect gift if you’re stuck for ideas. It’s great for letting someone know you care and it’s something they can use all year round. I did a full post on how to create your own here, if you need some ideas and inspiration.


Sensory items.

Sensory items are great because they give someone a way to ground themselves if they are suffering from dissociation/flashbacks, or to help anxiety when they are in stressful situations. Sensory items include but are not limited to squishies, candles, body/room sprays, slime or tangles.


What other things come to mind when you think of mental health gifts?

How To Make A Self Care/Crisis Box (Ideal Christmas Gift)

If you’re struggling to find a meaningful gift for your loved one this Christmas why not make them their own self care or crisis box? It’s the perfect gift for a loved one suffering from a mental illness, going through a rough time or anyone who might need a pick me up. Everyone needs self care to get through life, in whatever form that may be. You can even make this box for yourself, and it’s great for birthdays too.

A self care box is exactly like the title says – a box full of items to inspire looking after yourself. Self care tends to be seperated into 6 types; physical, emotional, practical, mental, social, and spiritual. When creating your box it’s ideal to look at the 6 types and try to find items that fit into them. However, many forms of self care are not item based (for example – taking a walk, seeing a therapist, or seeing a friend) so an idea might be to write lists (or find them on Pinterest and print them out) to put into your box so they’re ideal to refer to when you’re in need.

A crisis box is a collection of items to be used when someone is in a state of distress. This might be if someone has self harm urges, suicidal thoughts, or needs grounding from dissociation or flashbacks etc. Something to keep in mind when creating a crisis box is to make sure you don’t put anything in that could potentially be used to hurt yourself/your loved one with, for example – candles, sharp items etc.

Although, a self care and crisis box are quite similar they can be quite different. Self care tends to be to keep yourself well, for example – if you’re feeling deflated or low and need a pick me up. Crisis boxes are for use at crisis point, when trying to prevent yourself getting to a point where you do something to harm yourself.

This is by no means an exclusive list and is designed to give you ideas and get you started. You can add things or take things away. It’s a great gift and allows you to personalise it to what you/your loved one finds helpful or enjoys.


Nurturing.

These are general items used to look after and appreciate yourself. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in life and forget to look after yourself. Small things can make all the difference.

Ideas text with baby pink heart

  • Hot chocolate/coffee sachets.
  • Tissues (it’s ok if you need to cry!)
  • Chocolate or your favourite snacks.
  • A card/letter to show them you’re thinking about them (if you gifting it to someone else) or one you’ve recieved in the past that makes you smile to look at (if its for yourself)
  • Mug
  • Face masks
  • Body lotions
  • A soft toy

Distraction.

Distraction items are great for both boxes. Whether you need distracting from urges, thoughts or memories, or want to do something you enjoy, it’s a great tool to busy your brain and focus on something positive.

Ideas text with baby pink heart

 

  • Books
  • Puzzles
  • Colouring books
  • Craft sets
  • Knitting/crocheting (wool etc)
  • Notebooks
  • Art supplies
  • Planner supplies
  • Puzzle books (dot to dot, wordsearches, suduko, crosswords etc)

Grounding.

Grounding is useful for many different reasons – it’s mainly used during flashbacks and/or dissociation, and aims to ‘ground’ you back to the present moment. Often it uses the 5 senses – sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing, (‘What can you see? What can you hear? etc).

Ideas text with baby pink heart

  • Vapour rub (for smell and touch)
  • Freeze spray/gel (for the cold on skin)
  • Squishies (touch)
  • Tangles (touch)
  • Sour sweets (taste)
  • Slime (touch)
  • Pictures of happy memories (sight)
  • Instrument (touch and hearing)
  • Favourite CD (do people even have CD’s anymore?!)/calming music (hearing)

Useful books/items.

There are a variety of useful things you could pop in the box such as books on mindfulness, happy/gratitude journals and books containing bright positive or inspirational quotes. You can also get bands that have quotes on them such as ‘you matter’ or ‘keep fighting’ etc which can be useful to wear on your wrist to remind the person of how far they’ve come/that they’re ok etc.

The three wristbands in the picture are from Stickman Communications, they’re useful to wear either as a visual reminder for yourself that you’re struggling (and so to be extra kind to yourself), or doing good. Or to let other people know how you feel (such as people you see regularly or live with) so they’re aware of how you’re feeling without you having to explain it – we all know how difficult that can be.

Ideas text with baby pink heart

  • Mindfulness books
  • Happy/gratitude journals
  • Books with colourful positive/inspirational quotes
  • Wrists bands with meaningful quotes on
  • Notebooks/pens

Remember this isn’t an exclusive list and things can be added or took away, it’s really up to you! Just have fun putting it together for yourself or someone else. 

Have you got any other ideas of what someone can put into a self care or crisis box?

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3 Exciting Books I Hope To Read This December

I don’t know about anyone else but I can’t believe Blogmas has come around again already. It only feels like yesterday I was sat here writing last years posts! In today’s post (and my first for Blogmas 2019!) I’m talking about the 3 books I’m hoping to read this month.

I don’t have an amazing track record with TBR’s, tending to be more of a mood reader, but I love picking out books anyway. My concentration hasn’t been the best lately, in between studying and writing my book, I haven’t had much concentration.

However, I’m hoping this to get back into it this month. There’s nothing like curling up with the Christmas lights shining and reading a good book.


Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. 

 

Synopsis

‘Milk and honey’ is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. ‘milk and honey’ takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.’

I’ve had this book on my shelf for so long, and since I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately (and preparing my first collection of poetry I’m hoping to publish!) I thought it was about time I picked it up. I’ve heard such great things about this collection so I’m excited to get into it. It’ll also hopefully be an easy read to transition me back into reading more.


Everless by Sara Holland.

Synopsis

‘In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.’

I received this editon in a Fairyloot box, and the books included are always amazing so I have high hopes for this. I haven’t read a fantasy book in so long so it’s exciting to go back to one of my favourite genres.


The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher. 

Synopsis

‘The Christmasaurus is a story about a boy named William Trundle, and a dinosaur, the Christmasaurus. It’s about how they meet one Christmas Eve and have a magical adventure. It’s about friendship and families, sleigh bells and Santa, singing elves and flying reindeer, music and magic. It’s about discovering your heart’s true desire, and learning that the impossible might just be possible.’

It wouldn’t be December without a Christmas book. I love Christmas and the whole festive period, and this book sounds like the perfect one to get into the Christmas mood. Me and my best friend will be doing a readalong starting from the beginning of December so I’m looking forward to it!


What books are on your December TBR?

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