Saturday, 31 October 2020

The Benefits of Journaling for Writers


There's nothing like a brand new notebook to get a writer's heart pumping. Unless it's a brand new top-of-the-range MacBook of course. However, even the most expensive notebook is considerably cheaper than that. Writers love notebooks. They love buying notebooks. Then, they decide the notebook is far too nice to write in, and they buy another notebook. And, so it goes. Piles of notebooks and not a jot of writing done. My blog today is to exhort you to crack open that brand new notebook and actually do some writing on those pristine pages. 

Why am I encouraging you to do this - because I am talking about journaling in today's post. In order to embrace journalling, you actually need to write something. Or draw something. Or past something. You get my drift. 

What is Journaling?

It is simply, the practice of writing, without pressure, on a regular basis. 

Why Journal?

Why am I encouraging you to journal? The benefits are both well known and numerous. 

  • Improves brain power.
  • Improves mood. 
  • Improves memory.
  • Aids focus. 
  • Reduces stress.
  • Record day to day events. These may come in useful in your current or future WIP.
  • Gets you writing every day.
  • To practice stream of consciousness writing.
  • Opens up the brain to new ideas.
  • Declutters the brain.
  • Write without pressure.
  • Motivation.
  • Practice new or different writing techniques.
  • Increases your daily word count as you will be more likely to write

In order to get started, I would suggest you pick a time you will journal each day. Open a notebook and pick up a pen and spend fifteen minutes writing, on any topic which comes to mind. Do this for a week and see how your writing has changed over that time. You will be surprised at how far you've come. 

Now, my Bookaholic friends, if you'll excuse me I'm off to buy another notebook ready for tomorrows writing session. See you soon and until then, keep on reading and keep on writing. 

Saturday, 29 August 2020

The Killings at Kingfisher Hill review

When an author writes books in a series by someone as iconic as Agatha Christie, about a detective as iconic as Hercule Poirot, you know they are going to have to bring their A Game. Thankfully Sophie Hannah has done so. It is obvious she is intimate with Christie’s books and deeply familiar with Poirot’s  character. She has got him spot on. Of course, like the original books, character is right at the heart of this story, and the way these characters interact is a major part of the storyline. I could picture each of them clearly. They are beautifully drawn, especially Daisy whose mood swings and emotions were almost palpable. It is essentially a closed room mystery, with some of the action taking place in a coach before moving to a a house in a gated community. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The mystery was strong, as was the setting. I felt myself transported in both space and time and could feel the claustrophobia, not only if the house, but the community.  An excellent book which I wholeheartedly recommend. 

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an ARC of this book. At no point was I asked to write a positive review. My review is based on my enjoyment of the book. 


Monday, 10 August 2020

I Am So Many Things Journalling Bible

It's not often that I am blown away by a Bible, in fact so much so that I have to blog about it. However, this one is definitely worth the effort and hoopla. It is incredible. So, Bookaholics, a bible it is today.

Wow. Just wow. I love this bible. From the bright yellow cover, which I find alluring, to the very last illustrations on the inside of the back cover, this bible is incredible. The image on the front says, 'I am so many things', and this is backed up by scripture verses. These 'I am' statements and images are liberally scattered throughout the pages with relevant bible verses underneath them. The affirmations in the I am statements are powerful allowing the reader to see themselves as God sees them. They are brought to life by Thea Muir in her simple, yet effective, illustrations. Affirmations such as these are what are so often missing in our modern lives, so a timely and necessary read. This is so much more than a Bible, it is a journalling bible where you can write in the extra wide margins. This can be about the text itself or about the I am images and affirmations. There are also several pages where the reader is encouraged to complete exercises to make them think more deeply about the text and the affirmation. In fact, this whole Bible is designed to be read, believed, internalised, written in and interacted with. It is both a bible and a devotional.

Whilst this is squarely aimed at young girls and teens, I believe that many adults would gain a lot from it as well. I am an adult and I absolutely loved it from the get go. I cannot recommend this bible highly enough and if I could give it more than 5 stars I would in a heartbeat. It is worth every penny.

I received a copy of this bible from the publisher. At no point was I asked to give a positive review. My review is based on my own enjoyment and love of this version of the bible and was formed without bias. I am so glad the publishers sent me this. I know I'm an adult but I fully intend using it, especially the affirmation parts. We all need a reminder of who truly are in God. 

So, for all my Bookaholic friends who are Christians, or even looking for a present for a young girl who is a Christian, this is definitely one I can recommend. Better still, buy it from your local Christian Bookshop. They are struggling as they reopen and supporting them is key in the current times. 

I'll be back soon with more news and views. Until then, keep reading and keep writing. 

Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Sandpit by Nicholas Shakespeare

Good morning bookaholics. The sun is shining here in Bonnie Dundee. The perfect type of day to grab a book and read in the garden. Have I got a treat for you today. A Cold War thriller which is happening now. 

This is a brilliant book. Shakespeare is a wordsmith, apparent in every carefully chosen word. The words paint a picture that start off gently, then pull you in to the tight plot. John Dyer, recently returned to Oxford from Brazil, leads a quiet life and looking after his young son. However, a supposedly chance meeting on the sidelines of a football pitch, drags him into a taut game of cat and mouse. Rustam Marvar, an Iranian scientist, tells Dyer about an earth shattering scientific discovery and then disappears. This leads to a story which intrigued and excites in breathtaking measure. The characters are complex and beautifully written, each with their own diverse personalities. I felt as if I knew them personally. In a couple of places there are some scientific explanations which could slow the plot down. However, these are handled well and were interesting. Would I read another book by this author? Very definitely. Would I recommend this one? Unreservedly. A beautifully written book which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I was captivated by this book and the well plotted narrative and genuinely could not stop reading. 
This isn’t out yet my Bookaholic friends but it is definitely one to pre-order. You can do so on Amazon I’ll be back soon with another great review. Until then keep reading. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for an ARC of this book.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Good afternoon, Bookaholics. As you know I usually read crime but I am stepping out of my comfort zone reading wise and I would encourage you to do the same. Lockdown is a time for trying new things when many of us have the time to do it.

This isn’t the usual type of book I read but I was looking for something completely different. I was a little unsure whether this would be the book for me but I don’t mind telling you, I was completely seduced. Elizabeth Gilbert is a brilliant writer. This is evident in every single word which she uses to good effect to draw me to a crescendo of emotions one minute followed by a diminuendo the next. It is some time since I have been so emotionally involved in a book. The story is told by an elderly lady, Vivian, to the unknown (to the reader), Angela. It is, at its most simple, the story of Vivian’s fascinating life. It is so much deeper than this, however. It is a microcosm of New York from the 1940’s onwards and the story of a group of people who live, work and love there. It is the story of a crumbling theatre and the people who work there. It is the story of awakening sensuality and sexuality, and yet is done with such sensitivity that the reader is drawn in. It is all of that and so much more I loved this book. I genuinely could not stop reading and desperately wanted to know what happened and who Angela was. A brilliantly executed story of the lives of a group of artistic temperaments who gel and are drawn toward each other. The characterisation is the best I have read and I read a lot. I would highly recommend this book to all women whether you read this genre or not. Elizabeth Gilbert is my new favourite author and I cannot wait to read more by her.

So as you can see, Bookaholics a fabulous book. I’m off to try another, so I’ll be back soon. If you haven’t read this one, seriously, buy it. You won’t regret it.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an ARC of this book. At no point was I asked to write a positive review and my review is based on my reading, and enjoyment, of the book.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Book Review - Sent: Living a Life That invites others to Jesus

Hello, Bookaholics, I’m back with another great book for you, this time for my Christian readers. Sometime a book comes along and you just have to share how good it is. This is one such book. 

Humanity is currently living in difficult times, However, we are also living in unique times, especially for Christians. We are in a unique position to lead our Christin lives, showing God’s love to those around us. In this book, the authors, Heather and Ashley Holleman issue a rallying call to lead our lives as sent - sent by God to those in whom we come into daily contact with. Those in our neighbourhoods, streets, offices, schools, and workplaces. They state the three pillars of leading a Sent Life as being

God is always working to bring people to himself
God uses people (us) to lead others to him
God invites us into the work of evangelism

Invites us right where we are, right now, right in this place. The book acts as both a rallying cry and a road map, to seek a deeper relationship with God and to seek relationships with others. From these relationships will grow a longing and a willingness to share God with others. 

The authors are skilled writers, who have a genuine love for God and for seeing others come to a personal relationship with him. This book reflects that in every page. There are exercises at the end of the chapters which you are encouraged to carry out. Both the book and the exercises are bible driven and rooted in scripture, as well as prayer,  at every stage. The book is designed that you can work through it as an individual or small group. 

This is a book which every Christian should read, it will transform your approach to Christianity and to evangelism. Whilst it is not yet out, it can be pre-ordered. 

Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for an ARC of this book for review purposes. At no point was I asked to provide a positive review and my review is my own opinion based on my reading of the book.


That’s it for another day, My Bookaholics friends. This is well worth ore-ordering. You won’t regret it. 

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Book Review: The Music Box Enigma

Good afternoon, Bookaholics. If you like historical mystery with both grit and humour, have I got a book for you.

Having read, and thoroughly enjoyed, The White Feather Killer, bu this author, I was keen to read this latest book. R.N. Morris is fast becoming my favourite author and Silas Quinn my favourite detective. The victim is a thoroughly loathsome character and if someone hadn’t bumped him off, I might have been tempted myself. Quite frankly I’m not sure why anyone would want to investigate the murder but justice has to be done. Silas Quinn is a brilliant character - dogged, determined and clever. The cast of characters who surround him are bumbling and brilliant in turn. The addition of Edward Elgar as both a composer and a special Constable is a stroke of genius.  The story is part gritty crime, part P.G. Wodehouse and it works.  It trots along at a fair pace keeping the reader interested.. To borrow an overused phrase, there’s a twist you will never see coming. In this case it is seriously true. The ending was extraordinary and I was stunned. The historical aspect is well researched, well written and interesting, giving a sound basis for the setting and context. A superbly written book which I would highly recommend. 

It isn’t out quite yet but as we are all currently in lockdown this is one to pre-order and get reading the minute it is out.  

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the Advanced Reader Copy. I was not asked to write a positive review but as you can see, I loved it.

See you soon, Bookaholics, with another great review.  Until then, keep reading.