When to do when... You're in a Reading Slump

7:41 PM

I have to admit I have been in a bit of a reading slump recently, its really annoying because now I have lots of free time I just don't want to read! I'm determined to get out of it though and as I was in this exact same position last summer, I thought that I would share with you some tips that helped me to get out of it.

1. Reread your all time favourite book.

My all time favourite book is 1984, I also really adore the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime. Its a book that you know you love, a book that you're probably going to read quickly because you enjoy reading it. Makes sense right? So grab your favourite book, sit down and give it a read!

2. Read a short book.

Last year this was the book that got me out of my reading slump, it was incredibly fast paced and so interesting and very short, it was nice to have a short book that kept me interested the whole way through, i'd definitely recommend reading a short book, or short stories or even some poetry, just something quick and snappy.

3. Read a book you've really been looking forward to.

Speak is a book I've wanted to read for so long. Grabbing a book that you have really been excited for, especially if you've got it more recently, might be the thing to bring you right out of that slump!

4. Read a book that's a completely different genre to what you usually read

The thing that may be keeping you in a slump is the fact that you're not in the mood for your usual read. Perhaps try reading a genre that you don't usually read. I normally read a lot of dark, crime books so every day by David Levithan is completely different to my usual reads.

5. Read a book with lots of things constantly happening

I read this recently and it is the first book I have finished in a very long time, it sucks you in straight away and keeps you constantly interested the whole way through. This is the kind of book I recommend to help get you out of a reading slump, something that constantly has things happening and keeps you reading. Definitely a way to drag you out of that slump!

6. Take a break

It's also okay to take a break from reading. Chill out, eat your favourite snacks and drink, watch TV and come to books in a week or two, don't force yourself to read because you could end up going further into a slump!

7. Get comfortable and relax

It's also important that you are comfortable and relax when reading, its no good if you're uncomfortable, forcing yourself to read. Get in your pj's, treat yourself and get ready to read!

I hope you enjoyed this post and took some advice and tips from this, and if you are in a reading slump, I hope you get out of it soon!


How to... Add a Background to your Book Synopsis in Blogger!

5:32 PM

I've been pretty uninspired to write a blog post recently, hence why my last two posts have just been book reviews, which of course there is nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to write a post that my readers may actually benefit from, that they may learn something from. I was hacking my brain thinking what could I do and I remembered that it took me a while to find out how to add the rounded sort of shadow background to the little synopsis that I leave when writing book review posts, if you're not sure what I'm talking about I mean this:
This little square that is usually filled with the blurb/synopsis of a book. You may not have even noticed it that much or questioned how it got there, but if you want to spice up your review posts this may be a good way to do it.
I know that a lot of people may think its easy and know how to do it straight away but as I am a bit of a newbie when it comes to things like coding, I had to do some extensive research to find this out. I also want you to note that this is a tutorial for blogger so it might not help you if you are on another platform though you may still be able to get some tips. Please also note that this may not be the only way to do it this is just the way that I grasped easily.

First off, what you want to do is go to your blogger homepage and click on template which can be found down the left hand side.

Next you will be greeted with this screen and you want to click customise underneath the "Live on Blog" square.

Next you will be taken to the screen where you are able to edit how your blog looks. Now you want to go to the top of the page where all the tabs and such are, and click on Advanced.

You will then be greeted with a number of options which you can play around with if you wish, but what we want to do is scroll right down to the bottom and click on Add CSS.

This will lead you to an empty white box which you are able to add CSS to, obviously mine is not always empty but for the purpose of this tutorial I emptied it.

What you want to do is add in this code:

  border-radius: 10px; #000000;
padding: 5px;

For the purpose of this tutorial I have put the background colour as a light grey. This is the colour that you want the box to be. Incase you are unfamilar with HTML colour codes, this website may be helpful to you as it allows you to chose any colour and gives you the code for it which you then should insert into this code and replace the "#BDBDBD"

In terms of the rest of the code, the padding is the number of pixels you want the text to be away from the edges, you'd really need to play around with this to see what you like best but I have left in the values that I use for mine. (please note that the css will not work unless you press enter and then save)

Now you probably want to know how you actually get to use the box, its very simple. When you create a blog post there is the "blockquote" button, as shown in the image below, you press that and start typing, when you want to stop the text from being in the blockquote press enter.

Hope this tutorial helped in some way and I hope that it was clear and simple enough to follow! Happy blogging!


How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

12:02 PM

Warning: Some people may find the content of this book disturbing, it may also be a trigger for some people, read with caution.

Star Rating: 5/5
Title: How I Lost You
Author: Jenny Blackhurst
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 368
Genre: Fiction, Adult, Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Where to buy:
Amazon Waterstones
They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied?

I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don't you?

My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my tattered life.

This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he's dead?

If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?
Disclaimer: I was sent this book to review, this will in no way effect my judgement of the book and I will always be 100% honest in my reviews.

I first saw this book on Twitter, it looked incredibly interesting and when I saw that it was available to request on book bridgr, I decided to give it a go. I hadn't finished a book in a very long time and as I was in a crime fiction sort of mood, as soon as this arrived I decided to pick it up and boy did I read. I read the most in one sitting that I have in a very long time, it was so interesting and so intriguing, the more I read the more I wanted to read on. 

This book is the kind of book that sucks you in purely on the premise, it is about a woman who was sent to a mental institution as she suffered from post natal depression and murdered her 3 month old son, after four years she's gotten out, built her life up and now she's being sent anonymous messages that suggest her son may still be alive. How amazing of a story does it sound already? I was sucked in instantly, desperately wanting to know what happened. There are a hell of a lot of twists and turns, you keep trying to guess the whole way through and each time nothing is as it seems, I would never in a million years have guessed that ending, it was so unexpected but it just all fit together so well, the plot is so incredibly well thought out that it shows how talented Jenny Blackhurst actually is.

I want to talk a little bit about the characters, I think they were all written so incredibly well, especially Susie, the main character, it was as though when you read how she was feeling, that you could feel her heart breaking, that you could feel how confused she was and how much she just wanted to not be the person that murdered her own son, it was done so well. I've learnt a lot about depression in university and some people don't get it, they get it completely wrong, some authors just don't write about it properly where as Jenny Blackhurst just seemed to nail it on the head for me. Her friend Cassie was so well written as well, I would've liked to have heard more about her story and how she ended up in the mental institution, because we only got snippets (she could probably have a book of her own) but she was so snappy, said it like it is, entirely opposite to Susie that it was such an incredibly unlikely friendship and I think if it weren't for the institution there is no way they would have ever even spoke, but Cassie looked out for Susie and I liked that. 

As I said I am trying to ease myself into crime and this is a lot more hard hitting than Dying for Christmas, there is more detail in some scenes and I can see why some people may find this difficult to read (I've read about too many real life serial killers and crime for this to affect me too much) but I know that there are books which are a lot more graphic so this may also be a good place to start to get into crime too! 

This book is just really well written and one of the best books I have read in a long time, I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone and I can't wait to read more by Jenny Blackhurst. 


Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen

12:00 AM

Warning: Some people may find the content of this book disturbing, it may also be a trigger for some people, read with caution.

Star Rating: 4/5
Title: Dying for Christmas
Author: Tammy Cohen
Publisher: Black Swan
Pages: 400
Genre: Fiction, Adult, Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Kidnap

Where to buy:
Amazon Waterstones

I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out …

But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?
Another Adult Crime Novel! I really enjoyed this one, it was my mums and she passed it onto me, the benefits of having a mum who is almost as big of a reader as me! She basically only reads crime novels though, so I am using this to my advantage!

This book is about a woman who is held captive by a man over the 12 days of Christmas, every day he gives her a new present which explains something to do with his life and childhood, or hers. The writing of this is so well written, I found myself being able to imagine everything so clearly, at times it was difficult to read. For those of you who may be wondering, there is no form of rape or sexual assault in this book, it is far more on the sort of "lighter" end of the crime section, its not very Gorey or descriptive, so it's a really good one to start with if you're wanting to get into crime.

It's pretty hard to describe or talk about without giving anything away. What I will say is that if you like a lot of mystery, confusion and plot twists then you will definitely like this book. It was so unexpected and just when you are sure of something, it gets incredibly confusing.

The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is simply because I started to get annoyed with the main character (this makes me sound like a really horrible person I realise - she is held captive, how can I get annoyed? You need to really read the book to understand what I mean) and I think this may have been intentional, and she was exceptionally well written, I just can't get past the fact that towards the end I started wanting to slap her, I was also a little disappointed with the ending, I wanted it to be a bit more... action packed, I felt like it was a bit cliche and should've gone differently, but of course I respect the authors decision and I still really enjoyed the book!

I know this is a very short review, but like I said its hard to talk about without giving too much away, so I would say, this is the perfect book if you want to get into crime but don't want all the gory details, and especially if you like twists and turns!


Stacking the Shelves #8

1:56 PM

Hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Remember me? Yes, I know it has been a while but I swear I have a good excuse. Exams! It's taken over my life right now, I had my two big ones this week that were essay exams (boo) and my next exam is open book so I thought I would take time to write a post for you all! I'm also stewarding for the BPS Annual Psychology Conference next week so may be absent then as well (oops) but I will try my best to at least get one post up! But anyway...Another month, another stacking the shelves! Heres what I've bought this month. I decided this time to put in brackets what I paid for them and also link them up so that if anyone wants to get them for yourself you can! The links are all from amazon unless I got them online elsewhere.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (£1.99) - I went on a bit of a classic binge and decided to buy some of the Wordsworth classics which are only £1.99 each! There are loads which I wanted and I did have to restrain myself, these are all books that I think everyone should probably read in their lifetime, in fact this one was mentioned on BBC the big read list of books to read before you die, and I have heard a few people mention it so I thought I would pick war and peace up!

Looking for Madeleine by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan (Sent by Headline) - I requested this book from headline and they kindly sent it to me, I'm incredibly interested in both non-fiction and fictional crime, I thought that this would be an insightful read as I haven't read too much on this case due to me being around 12 years old when she went missing.

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (£2.50) - So I've had a lot of mention of Darwin and Evolution in my Psychology lectures and seeing it for £2.50 I couldn't resist and decided to get this one as well,

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (£8.99) - I got two treats for myself for getting 82% in a piece of coursework and this cover matches my animal farm and 1984, I am so excited to read this one!

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald (£1.99) -  I have actually never read this book myself and I haven't seen the film either so I decided that I would get this one and i'm surprised at how small the book is! I've started to read some of this but due to my exams I haven't finished many books in a while.

The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky (£1.99) - This was a completely random purchase, I have never heard of this one before but after reading the summary it seemed quite interesting and so... I added it to my basket! I'm a sucker for anything related to insanity.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (£1.99) - This book is the reason I started looking at these classics, I was actually watching Coronation Street and one of the characters had lent this book to another character and I realised that I don't own nor have I ever read it, and the way the character spoke about the book had me intrigued.

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among us by Robert D. Hare (£14.99) - my second present to myself for getting 82% in a piece of coursework, a book I have wanted for so long because Robert D. Hare is the leading psychologist on psychopaths and the creator of the psychopath checklist, I've always been so interested in this and am so glad I own this now.

The Karamazov Brothers by Fyodor Dostoevsky (£1.99) - Another completely random purchase that had me intrigued from reading the description, plus Fyodor is supposed to be an incredible author.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (£1.99) - Another one that I have never read and really need to, it's such a classic and everyone seems to love this one, it definitely sounds like my kind of thing and I can't wait to get into this one.

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh (£3.99 from HMV) - My mum and I decided to go shopping together because she got some vouchers as a goodbye present fro her job as she has got a new one! We went into HMV and both of us bought books! I can't wait to get into this one, I've heard how weird and wonderful it is and I haven't even seen the film, all I know is its something to do with drugs.

He's just not that into you by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (£2.99 from HMV) - This is literally one of my all time favourite films and I decided to get the book version because it seemed quite quirky and a nice simple book that might be a good read after something heavy!

Hippo Eats Dwarf by Alex Boese (£2.99 from HMV) - A book that has been on my wishlist for a very long time, I really enjoyed his other book Elephants on acid and when I saw this I knew that I needed to get it, especially for that price.

How I lost you by Jenny Blackhurst (Sent by Headline) - This book is one that I have found hard to put down recently, I keep having to tell myself to stop and do revision, I'm really enjoying it, its so interesting and right up my street and I can't wait to sink my teeth in after my exams.

How have you all been?! What have you bought recently? Have you read any of these books?