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I swoon over fictional men

Taking a little break

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Hey, guys. Just a quick post to let you know that I’m going to be taking a break for a week or so. I’ve been feeling very low lately and to top things off, I also have a UTI so have been feeling even more crappy. I’m going home to see my family this weekend and while I’m going to catch up on comments (I’m really, really behind so I’m really sorry), I won’t be doing any posts. I’m hoping I’ll be feeling okay soon! In the meantime, though, if anyone wants to keep in touch, feel free to chat with me through my personal Facebook. I always love hearing from you guys ❤

 

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‘Cleaving Souls’ Chauncey Rogers

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Some dangers you cannot outrun. Some nightmares do not end when you wake.

Something is watching Katherine Harris. She can feel it when she goes out. She can feel it inside her home. She feels it in her bed. Her husband, Alex, wants to blame her anxiety on her pregnancy, but he’s often away for work. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be stuck in a small town, to be trapped in a tiny house on a run-down street, to be alone. Kat does, and the feeling only grows worse. 

Whatever is going on, Kat’s certain that it’s far more serious than pregnancy jitters. When Alex takes Kat on a second honeymoon to get her mind off things, it becomes far more dangerous as well.

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I received a free copy of Cleaving Souls, courtesy of Chauncey, in exchange for an honest review. I reviewed Chauncey’s previous book, Home to Roost, the review of which you can check out here.

When I first heard about Cleaving Souls, it seemed to tick all the right boxes on my list of What makes a great novel. Horror? Check (hey, it is Halloween month after all!) Written by Chauncey Rogers, author of Home to Roost, which is one of my best reads of 2017? Check. Intriguing premise? Double check. I had high hopes for Cleaving Souls and I was eager to delve right in.

It did not disappoint. In fact, I’d go as far as to say Cleaving Souls went above and beyond my already high expectations.

One of the first things I want to highlight is Chauncey’s ability to completely immerse his readers in the events within his novels. My reading of this book began in a drafty launderette, where I had to sit for an hour waiting for my laundry to dry. The launderette is bitterly cold in October and the plastic seat I was sat upon did little to enhance my comfort…but I barely noticed my dismal surroundings. Upon reading the first page, the world around me seemed to melt away and was replaced by the disconcerting town of Peascombe in which the book’s protagonist, Kat, lives with her husband.

Let’s talk about the prologue.

The prologue effectively reels a reader in. It’s a prologue that had me asking a lot of questions, questions which I can’t reveal here without giving away potential spoilers. I will say this, though; the answers to your questions don’t start being revealed until around three quarters of the way through the book, meaning it keeps you guessing. I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy books that have me theorizing throughout and the great thing about Cleaving Souls is that my various theories regarding the gradually worsening creepy happenings in Kat’s life came nowhere near to the actuality of them. The truth underpinning Kat’s dreams and the voice she keeps hearing is far darker than I could have ever imagined.

Which leads me quite nicely onto the horror elements of this book. A lot of horror these days is blood, guts and gore and while that makes me insanely uncomfortable, it doesn’t outright scare me. It doesn’t keep me awake at night. I just watch a few funny videos on YouTube and bam, I forget about it.

Not with Cleaving Souls, though. The horror within this book is creepy. It’s unsettling. It’s unnerving. It’s the kind of horror that stays with you long after you’ve put the book down (hence why it wasn’t a book that I read before sleep). For me, one of the most unnerving elements of Cleaving Souls is Kat’s initial uncertainty over what is and isn’t real. How terrifying must it be to question your own sanity when (spoiler alert) you see your reflection in the TV screen doing things that you most definitely are not? How unsettling must it be to receive texts that disappear, leaving you (and your spouse) wondering if they were ever there at all?

Cleaving Souls is a fresh, innovative book within its genre and one that will keep you guessing right until its terrifying end. If you’re looking for a creepy book to keep you company on these cold, dark nights leading up to Halloween, Cleaving Souls is the book for you.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Song: Queen’s I’m going slightly mad 

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This book is available  to buy on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

Halloween reads

In the run up to Halloween, I’m trying to work my way through some of the creepier titles on my TBR list and today I started ‘The Amityville Horror’ (also, yes, I am in my PJs at 5pm but I have a cold and I’m tired so I’m excused :P)

What spooky reads are you currently reading?

Curse – a poem

There are days when you might feel that to some people your existence is a curse

But know and remember this one truth; you’re so wanted, loved and needed 

And I hope that one day the clouds will part and you’ll gain a true sense of your self worth

 

For anyone who needs a little reminder today ❤

I’m back, beeotches!

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I really wanted to post pictures of all the cultural hotspots in Glasgow (so there’s a picture of a cool archway I saw on the way to the pub), but, truth be told, about 90% of the photos I did take are of me and my boyfriend posing for Snapchat filter selfies. So what you’re seeing are photos of some baklava I had in my favourite tea room, some gorgeous flowers I received for my birthday, one of about 30 Snapchat selfies, aforementioned cool archway and one of my panda birthday cards.

Thank you so, so much for all of your birthday wishes ❤ Today was spent catching up on uni things and doing boring adult things like laundry…but have no fear, I shall be catching up in the next couple of days ❤

Birthday shenanigans

No delights from I swoon over fictional men this weekend, guys! It’s my birthday tomorrow so I’m popping up to Glasgow for a few days.

In a bizzle! Have a great weekend ❤️

‘Dark World’ Zak Bagans

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Paranormal investigator Zak Bagans pulls from his years of experience with paranormal activities and unexplained phenomena to provide an even-handed look at a divisive subject

It’s easy to say ghosts exist or don’t exist. Anyone can do that. Trying to figure out the why or what is a different story. Paranormal investigator Zak Bagans, host of the popular Travel Channel series Ghost Adventures, pulls from his years of experience with paranormal activities and unexplained phenomena to provide an evenhanded look at a divisive subject.

In Dark World, regardless of whether you believe in the afterlife or not, Zak does his best to find and share answers to the phenomena that people encounter. He wants you to experience a haunting through his eyes: to feel what it’s like to be scared, freaked out, pushed, cold, sluggish, whispered-at and touched by an ethereal being or attacked by a demonic spirit. But beyond simply experiencing these events, Zak is looking for the reasons behind them, searching for answers to the unanswered questions.

Addressing all the major issues and theories of the field in an impartial way, Dark World is a must read for paranormal enthusiasts, those who don’t believe and anyone who’s ever wondered about things that go bump in the night.

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So something a little bit different for today’s review and I have to be honest and say I stupidly didn’t start this book for ages because I read mostly at night and was expecting this to be scary…(and the fact that this wasn’t particularly scary is not a criticism. I have enough night terrors and nightmares at it is, sheesh). Anyway, I’ve been interested in the paranormal for yeeeeeeeeeeeeears, though, having had my first unexplained, spooky experience when I was six years old so I really, really wanted to read this book.

Okay, so, my family tease me relentlessly for watching paranormal investigation shows and when I watch the odd episode of Most Haunted…I can totally see why. They run around screaming and whenever stuff happens, it’s always, always conveniently off camera.

But Ghost Adventures is different. Sure, it can be hilariously dramatic sometimes but the GA crew take what they do seriously. If something happens or if something is captured on video or on a digital recorder, they don’t just take it at face value. They go out of their way to try and debunk it before slapping a ‘Paranormal’ label on it.

And this is why I wanted to read Zak Bagans’ book. There’s only so much that they can fit into an hour long episode and I was hoping Dark World would provide me with an opportunity to delve behind the scenes and turn a two dimensional TV viewer’s perspective into something more. 

Dark World did not disappoint.

The book seems to be split into two halves; the first half is an account of Zak’s personal experiences with the paranormal and an in depth discussion of his past investigations with his team, while the second half is an eye opening exploration into the various paranormal theories out there, including some of his own. I’m not gonna lie, some of the theories seem pretty, well, out there but hey, it wasn’t so long ago (well, in terms of human existence anyway) that people thought the notion of the Earth revolving around the sun was pretty cray cray. I particularly enjoyed the first half the book because I enjoy knowing the hows and the whys. When I first began binge watching Ghost Adventures, I will be honest and say I thought Zak was just an over confident, overly bossy guy and having read Dark World, I have to confess that I feel quite bad in that initial assumption because there’s a reason behind it all. If you’re not confident in an investigation, why should anyone (dead or alive) take you seriously? If you don’t take charge of the situation, an investigation becomes somewhat shambolic with people having no idea of what they should be doing.

My only real issue with this book was the dramatic change in tone in the second half the book. It became quite theoretical and while I did find it interesting, I did find it quite heavy going at times because I don’t come from a science background. However, I do appreciate this might say more about me than it does about the book. Having just started an MA, I have been sitting here up the eyeballs in journal papers and textbooks so it’s quite possible that I’m just theoried out. The theories within this book and Zak’s ability to view the paranormal from a range of different perspectives demonstrate both his passion for this subject and his maturity about it. A lot of people just scoff and say “Ha! Ghosts!? Bullfuckingshit.” without actually taking any arguments, research and evidence into consideration. Zak seems to say to his readers, believers and skeptics alike, “I get that this seems pretty weird, but hear me out and keep an open mind about it.”  He understands and appreciates that there are people who are rightfully skeptical, but through this book, he presents his evidence and allows people to make up their own minds. He’s presented evidence that the paranormal does exist in a clear and thoroughly researched manner, so perhaps it’s time that the skeptics presented their evidence that the paranormal doesn’t exist.

This book is relatively old (well, like, 6 or 7 years) and I know Zak has written other books since. It’d be interesting to see how his ideas have changed in the years following this book’s publication.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Song: Ghostbuster’s theme (believe me, I wanted to find something a bit more deep and meaningful, but it’s the only song that seems to truly fit…honest…)

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This book is available on Amazon in both paperback and e-book format.

Music Monday – ‘Comfortably Numb’ Pink Floyd

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I was naughty and skipped last week’s Music Monday (well, I did actually have a legitimate reason, I was exploring my new university campus) but I’m back now with some more awesome music! Music Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek and is a chance to showcase your epic taste in music! My choice for this week is Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this band over the years, largely due to them being a favourite of my late uncle. I didn’t meet my actual father until I was 18 (and I don’t even know why I bothered, to be honest. He turned out to be an absolute twat) so the two main father figures in my childhood were my grandad (who raised me alongside my nan) and my uncle (well, great uncle, he was my grandad’s brother). When I was 12, he passed away very suddenly. He collapsed and died within a matter of minutes, before the paramedics could even get him to the hospital in fact. His sudden absence left me feeling bereft and sadder than I’d ever thought possible.

At his funeral, they naturally played Pink Floyd and for years afterwards, I couldn’t listen to any of their music without bursting into tears or getting incredibly angry over the fact my uncle had been taken away from us. I loved their music, but I just couldn’t listen to it.

A couple of years back, I had something of lightbulb moment. I realised that my uncle wouldn’t want me to stop listening to the music I liked because of him. He’d want me to listen to it and enjoy it in honour of his memory. Comfortably Numb is one of my personal favourites and I’m very happy to share it with you guys today.

Lyrics

Hello,
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?

Come on now
I hear you’re feeling down
Well, I can ease your pain
And get you on your feet again

Relax
I’ll need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain, you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I’ve got that feeling once again
I can’t explain, you would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb

I have become comfortably numb

O.K.
Just a little pin prick
There’ll be no more aaaaaaaah!
But you may feel a little sick

Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good
That’ll keep you going through the show
Come on, it’s time to go.

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb.

 

I’ve been here one week!

Hey, guys! A few of you asked me to keep you updated on my new life here in Leicester and, you’ll be pleased to know, things have been going great so far!

Despite my initial nerves (I think ‘nerves’ is an understatement, I was pretty much having a meltdown), I seem to have settled into life as a postgrad quite nicely. My flatmates, even though we’re ships passing in the night at the moment, are fantastic. They actually wash their dishes and if that isn’t a sign of a good flatmate then I don’t know what it is! Furthermore, I’ve been making friends with people on my course. On Tuesday, we had an induction lecture and being seated in a lecture theater isn’t really conducive to becoming acquainted with your classmates. The barrage of information combined with not having the chance to talk to anyone meant that I left the class feeling both dejected and overwhelmed.

However, on Wednesday, we had an awkward ice-breaker activity where we ‘mingled’ and chatted to one another, asking for names, languages spoken and interesting facts. I spoke to a Japanese lady and when I told her that I had lived in Japan for one year, she immediately wanted to add me on Facebook. The next day, I met the same lady in an IT class and I had lunch with her and her friend (who’s now my friend too) who comes from Taiwan.

This morning, I attended a pancake brunch (eugh, we Brits do not know how to do pancakes. Give me some fluffy American pancakes any day!) in my halls and then went into town with my Taiwanese friend and her flatmate. We did some shopping and had lunch before checking out the local market. I bagged a massive mango for £1! Bargain! We walked home in the rain and had a long conversation about our past universities and the things we like to do in our spare time…I’ve also introduced them to new words such as ‘chinwagging’ and ‘shortcut’!

This week has been manic, so I haven’t had much time for reading. I got home at about 4pm today, though, and the gloomy, rainy weather made for a perfect couple hours of reading. I’ve fashioned a reading nook out of panda teddies (see below!)

Looking forward to catching up with you all!

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Adorbs as fuck.

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