life · site

‘Books and ADHD and bears, oh my!’ (Spoilers: may not contain actual bears)

So… it’s been a few weeks since I last posted again, and I wanted to talk a little about why that is and how my ADHD affects my reading.

The biggest thing over the last month has been a shiny new hyperfixation. Hyperfixation, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a trait of ADHD that means intense focus on a particular thing for an extended period of time. After wanting one for a couple of years, I finally bought myself a Nintendo Switch in the pre-Black Friday sales. And promptly fell down the rabbit hole of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It is wonderful and I am in love. I have many many issues with Tom Nook – the fucking crook. I signed up for a deserted island, and found that 2 people were moving there with me, along with Timmy, Tommy and Nook himself. Then Blathers – admittedly, he’s wonderful – and his museum moved in. I’ve got my house and done the first two upgrades, currently working on paying off getting a second room. And somehow… somehow I’ve been conned into building a shop for Timmy & Tommy and now… Now I’m building THREE HOMES for more people to move to the island?! I didn’t get a fucking furnished house – no, I got a tent.
I LOVE THIS GAME.

Another way ADHD affects my reading is that – as you’ve probably noticed – I’m great at starting books. The finishing thing? Not so much. And once again, I hit the point where I had over 25 books in progress, all my library books were suddenly due back and I got really stressed out. Reading stopped being fun and I was really overwhelmed, and knowing that I wanted to be writing about the books I was reading made it feel like extra pressure to Do It Properly.
And when I feel like I have to do things properly, it makes it feel like I can’t start it because I don’t want to do it wrong and so there’s no point in doing it.
(Logically, I know there’s no way to ‘do’ my own blog ‘wrong’ – that’s just how the brain feels in these situations).

Added to that, I’ve started the second year of my degree and have been struggling a little bit. I’ve been finding it hard to get motivated to study, and had my confidence knocked by getting a low grade in my first assignment – caused by misunderstanding the question. Being a distance-learning degree, there’s a lot of reading, the more I struggle with this the more difficulty I have reading for pleasure because that voice in the back of my brain yells at me every time I pick up a book that isn’t for school that I should be studying.

I have started reading again in the last week or so, I picked 4 or 5 of the books I was reading and tried to focus on those and have actually nearly finished a couple of them. Woohoo.

But the combination of all of these things, I haven’t been able to figure out how to come back to blogging. And the longer it’s gone on, the harder it’s become to open up that new blog post window and start typing. It ended up becoming this big thing in my head that I didn’t know how to breach.

Obviously, writing this post, I DO want to come back and start blogging about books again. And that’s the thing. I want to blog about books and reading, rather than writing a ‘traditional’ book review blog. I love sharing my love for the books I’m reading and geeking out about them, and enthusing about books. I’m definitely learning I don’t enjoy writing ‘proper’ book reviews, but I do enjoy my paragraph long drive-by reviews. I love doing the weekly link-ups, they’re probably my favourite thing. I just need to figure out how I’m going to make this work for me – because I really do want to find my rhythm, because I really really enjoy being here.

books · music monday

My route around the library + Music Monday

I’ve been told that the way I choose books in the library – and in the Libby app – other than collecting reservations is a little bit… well.. odd. So I thought I’d write about it and see what y’all think!

My first stop in the library is the ‘quick choice’ or recommended reads section. There’s usually a good selection and I can usually pick up a chick lit there. Though lately there’s been some good historical there too.

Then, I’ll have a look at the returns cart, I find it interesting to see what other people have been reading and it’s a good way of finding something I wouldn’t necessarily normally pick up.

From then, a lot of it depends on the book/s I’m returning – if I’m returning non-fiction, I’ll pick up another non-fiction on the same topic, plus a fiction book by an author whose surname is alphabetically similar.
So, for example, when I return David Attenborough’s Adventures Of A Young Naturalist, I’ll pick up:
– another auto/biography
– another nature book
– and a fiction book by someone whose surname starts ‘Att’.

If I’m only returning fiction, it’ll be another book by someone’s who name starts with the same letters

I then pick up fiction from the start of the fiction section, one horror or sci-fi, and one history or science non-fiction.

With the Libby app, I’m more likely to have placed a reservation but I also work through the newly added titles, I’ll pick a book from one of the advertised curated collections, and I’ll choose one of the categories that have the lowest number of books available and pick something from there.

Like I said, kind of odd but I find it works and it keeps me reading a wide variety of books.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music while I study again this last week, and on my old blog always used to post a Music Monday where I basically share something I’m really love right now. It’s usually my most-played song of last week and I’ve been listening to a LOT of Peyton Parrish recently – his voice gives me ASMR like fucking crazy, my entire scalp is tingling and it feels like someone’s just taken my brain out of my skull and given it a good massage. I’m purring

For those of you who use the library – do you have a particular route around it or way of choosing the books you’re going to check out? And what music have you been loving lately?

book reviews

Some drive-by mini reviews

It’s been a while since I’ve done any mini-reviews (and, y’know, actually finished reading any books to write a review of) so here’s a little round-up of what I’ve been reading recently.

I’ve DNFed two books in the last week:
The first one was Kelly Ambers – Her First Collar: A Beginning to Pet Play (Kitten Play BDSM Book 1). I’m not entirely sure how a nice little BDSM erotica could be so flat, but I gave up about 3 pages in. There was no life to it and I was bored.
The second one was Tangled Rhythm: An Anthology. By the time the tense had changed three times on one page, and the guitarist was playing a ‘cord’… nope. Yes, as an anthology by multiple authors, another story in the selection could have been better, but if the editors had let the first one be that bad? I’m not risking it.

Mira Grant – Symbiont (Parasitology #2)
4/5, horror, post-apocalyptic, science-fiction, zombies
I really enjoyed Symbiont. I didn’t find it quite as unputdownable as Parasite, and like many a ‘middle of a trilogy’, there were a few points where it felt a little ‘filler’ and I got a little frustrated with the lack of common sense and decision-making abilities of Sal – but then when you consider who and what she is (trying to not spoil anyone here LOL), it’s understandable from a story-telling perspective. Absolutely nothing like I was expecting and I think my current world anxiety stopped me from enjoying a good apocalypse as much as I usually do, but still a bloody good read.

Anne Rice – Interview With Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles #1)
5/5, gothic, historical-fiction, horror, vampires
I first read Interview when I was a young teenager, I came out of seeing the movie and went straight into WHSmith where I bought Interview, Vampire Lestat, and Queen Of The Damned. I’ve been in love with these books ever since. I absolutely love the storytelling, Anne Rice’s descriptions are so vivid and beautiful. I don’t, however, particularly like Lestat or Louis as characters but as an introduction to them, to the other characters, the world-building, and the beginnings of the mythology, this is a fantastic book and I re-read it regularly. I love Louis’ voice, I love lines like “That morning, I was not yet a vampire. And I saw my last sunrise. I remember it completely, yet I do not think I remember any other sunrise before it I just wish he was… less whiney but when you think about everything that happened to him, it makes perfect sense

Heidi Swain – Summer at Skylark Farm (Wynbridge #2)
4/5, chick-lit, contemporary, romance
I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love the ‘city girl ups and moves to a farm’ kind of storyline and this was a wonderfully fluffy, feel-good example of the genre. I loved watching Amber grow from being completely out of depth and gaining her confidence, her relationship with Jake growing, and making friends with the somewhat eccentric cast of characters that make up Wynbridge. It was nice to catch up with the characters from Cherry Tree Cafe too. I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the series.

Sarah Pomeroy et al. – A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society, and Culture
4/5, ancient-history, classical-studies, history, non-fiction, reference
So this is actually one of the set books for my current university module. But I wanted to read the whole book before I started needing to dip in and out of it – both so that I wouldn’t get distracted by carrying on reading, and also so that I’d have some familiarity with the content when I needed it. I found this to be a really good overview of the topic, it was presented in an easy-to-understand way – and I’ve made notes in the margins on things I’d like to know more about if they’re not included in my course.

Nancy Warren – The Vampire Knitting Club (Vampire Knitting Club #1)
5/5, cozy-mystery, paranormal, urban-fantasy, vampires
I’ve been wanting to make a start with cozy mysteries for a while – I’ve had a few false starts but was still determined to find one. I had no idea there was such a thing as paranormal cozy mystery and let me tell you it was love at first page. I accidentally read this all in one sitting. When I was supposed to have been working. The mystery kept me guessing til the end, I didn’t figure whodunnit, and all the characters are such… characters. I can’t wait to see what happens to them next – I’ve already downloaded books 2-4 as they’re on Kindle Unlimited and have made a note of the other series by Nancy Warren.

Mary Beard – Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town
4/5, ancient-history, classical-studies, history, non-fiction
I have loved all things Pompeii since I first read about it as a child and I was lucky enough to go there in 2018. The place is absolutely mindblowing, magical and wrecked the tyres of my wheelchair – it’s many things but disabled accessible is not one of them. I wish I’d read this book before going because I feel I would have seen it in a whole new light, and I really want to go back and see it again with Beard as guide, even virtually. She really brought the town and it’s inhabitants to life, and I love how she admits what we don’t know, that the evidence doesn’t tell us everything but explains how the theories have come from the traces left behind

stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves #3

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Reading Reality all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I’ve been purposefully not adding anything to my reading piles lately, I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed with both the amount of books I’ve managed to end up with in progress and the amount of books on my TBR which doesn’t actually feel like it’s gone down this year.

This last 10 days or so, that kind of went to pot and I ended up with a little collection of new books.


Firstly I had an email from Amazon offering my 40% off the Kindle version of Dan Jones’ The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors. While I generally prefer paperbacks for my history books, what was I supposed to do – ignore the offer?!


Then, I realized I still hadn’t brought myself a copy of The Plantagenets, which I most definitely want to re-read before re-reading Hollow Crown. It’s practically mandatory! So I picked up a cheap used copy from Abe Book.


I recently finished Summer at Skylark Farm – #2 in the Wynbridge series, so clearly had to buy Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market. I’m generally not a big Christmas book reader so it tells you how much I enjoyed the first two books.


I accidentally read all of The Vampire Knitting Club on Monday, so promptly checked the next three out on Kindle Unlimited. I’ve also made a note of the other paranormal cozy mysteries that Nancy Warren has written because I’m already a little bit in love

I also popped into my local library the other day to find out if I could study there, did I need to book in advance and was happily told that no, it was absolutely ok to just rock up with my laptop and textbooks at any time, she confirmed the un-manned opening hours for me. I’ll be trying that one weekend when I need a change of scenery when studying.
However the library was clearly waiting for me and I came home with

sunday post

The Sunday Post: No spoons or fucks to be found

It has been a week y’all and I am completely done. I’m not planning on doing anything more strenuous today than walking between the kitchen and living room to get food/drinks etc.

So.

Monday at work I was dealing with the fallout of people not processing my Key Engineering Supplier invoices while I was doing Big Project Work. And it was one of those days where I processed… a LOT of invoices. One of the reasons I work slow and steady 90% of the time is that when the shit hits the fan like this, I have the oomph to post like 60 invoices in a day.

I also had a therapy appointment, we’re almost at the end of our sessions and we’re starting to work now on my Staying Well Plan. It’s not as scary as I thought it would to be coming to the end and not having Jeanett’s support which obviously is the entire POINT of therapy.

Tuesday I had a day off work because of a dentist appointment. I knew I had to have a filling and I knew I’d be no use to anyone after it was done. Except… it wasn’t just a filling. It was two fillings AND taking the first mould. I was not expecting that. I was very very glad the diazepam had kicked in before she took the mould because that was overwhelming and horrible. And my dentist was doing a new thing which REALLY helped. She’d be like ‘I need to do [XYZ] and it’s going to take me to the count of 10’, and then she would count out loud to 10. So there was this fixed end point to the current torture and then I could take a break. AND she lets me get up out of the chair and stim which is amazing!

Wednesday I continued plowing through invoices, but also had my introductory phonecall with my new tutor. She seems nice enough, specialises in Roman literature and we had a good chat about how she can support me with my ‘additional needs’, how best for her to communicate with me etc so that was really good.

And then yesterday I had my seasonal COVID booster jab. I was very very anxious about that. It’s at the local football ground and last year was… not good. The parking was very confusing, there was way too many people and I had a complete panic attack/meltdown which neither they or I knew how to handle.

This year I decided to walk – it was just over a mile – because that would ease the parking panic. Plus I sometimes find that walking, the repetitive motion of it, as long as my knees are behaving, is quite calming. So, headphones on and down the road I went. And there was no-one there. One person in front of me, two old people who were glaring at me behind me, and I was in and out in like 10 minutes.
I was actually really glad I walked in the end, I had so much adrenalin built up, and then it was almost anticlimatic so walking home again was a good use for that. Then I crashed, napped, and ordered myself a naughty KFC.

I get to do it all over again next week with my flu jab, so that’s going to be fun

Woke up this morning to the news that I won £89 on the Lottery last night. Treated myself to The Novel Companion which restocked in the week but I didn’t have the budget for. Very excited
I’d initially wanted next years Always Fully Booked planner but when I looked closer at the weekly planning pages, the layout wouldn’t work for the style of planning that’s currently working for me and it wasn’t worth getting just for the reading journal bits. So yes, I’m thrilled!

School also technically started again yesterday, but pretty much my only contribution to that was to tidy up my desk. It looks pretty awesome mind:


This week’s unit is mostly introductory work – information about the module, how the module is studied, links to the pronunciation guide and the study website. I’ve been chatting in the forums already and will probably spend a couple of hours on the intro stuff this afternoon.

Other than that, as long as I catch up on the dishes and read a chapter or so of A Brief History of Ancient Greece, then I’ll be happy.

Here’s to a better next week!

top ten tuesday

Books On My Fall 2022 To-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is ‘Books On My Fall 2022 To-Read List

I’m not going to lie, part of me wants to find a nice Spooktober bingo card or 30 days prompt challenge and read a whole bunch of horror – I haven’t read enough horror lately and I miss it! As a teen llama, I was ALL I read.

However. I have once again hit that point where I’m currently reading 26 books. So I think I need to do something about that and actually, start finishing things before I pick something new up. And so, with that in mind, my Fall 2022 list is to finish reading:

Marian Keyes – Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married – currently at 78%
Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl – currently at 73%
Sarah J Maas – A Court Of Mist and Fury – currently at 67%
Mira Grant – Chimera – currently at 57%
Holly Black – The Cruel Prince – currently at 54%


Nicholas Cook – Music: A Very Short Introduction – currently at 48%
Stephen Law – Philosophy – currently at 46%
Peter Ackroyd – The History Of England: Foundation – currently at 45%
Mary Beard – Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town – currently at 45%
Paul Cartledge – Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction – currently at

Wish me luck?

(Also, if you click the images of the covers, it should now take you to the goodreads page about the book as well)

lets talk bookish

Character or Plot Focused Books

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly bookish meme created by Rukky @ Eternity Books and has been hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits since April 2022! Each Friday, there is a discussion topic for bloggers to write about. This week’s topic is Character or Plot?

For me, it has to be the plot. I absolutely hate it when you get to the end of the book and you’re left with the feeling of ‘… but nothing happened!’. It’s all about the story. Don’t get me wrong, I need to care about the characters, I need to be invested in them and what’s happening to them, but I need there to be a really good story to keep me reading.

Every now and again, there’ll be a character-driven book that I fall in love with. Recently, there’s been The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo – I loved exploring her life, her loves and everything about her. The whole book definitely revolved around her, rather than a story happening to her.

But in general? Give me a good story to sink my teeth into and fill it with interesting characters but don’t make it all about them, it’s about what’s happening Mira Grant’s Chimera is a perfect example – the characters are all fascinating and intriguing and flawed and real but the story is why I haven’t put this book down all weekend – I NEED TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN!

book reviews

Book Review: How To Be A Healthy & Happy Submissive by Kate Kinsey

Photo of the book How To Be A Healthy & Happy Submissive by Kate KinseyTitle: How To Be A Happy & Healthy Submissive
Author: Kate Kinsey
Dates read: 17/04/22 – 18/09/22
Rating 4/5

Publisher: Nevermore Press
Number of pages: 192
Fiction or non-fiction: non-fiction
Subject or genre: BDSM, sexuality

Book blurb:

Beyond Fifty Shades of Grey, there’s an entire kinky world of BDSM, full of real life dominants and submissives enjoying an intimacy and satisfaction in their relationships that vanilla folk only dream of. Whether you want to explore your own submissive fantasies, or you’re just curious about what BDSM is really like, this book will answer all your questions, plus some you didn’t know you had.

Erotic author Kate Kinsey (“Red,” and “The Totally Uncensored Kinky Adventures of Chloe St. Claire, Sex Slave”) brings over a decade of experience as a submissive and kinky educator to this practical step-by-step guide to being a healthy and happy submissive.

Topics covered include: the differences between dominants and masters, submissives and slaves, and tops and bottoms; the different dominant styles; the truth about “training” to be a submissive; how to find like-minded folks in your area; how to negotiate scenes and relationships; what to expect at your first dungeon party; why some people actually enjoy pain; and the warning signs to look out for when talking to potential partners

How I discovered or acquired this book: It was recommended to me by Amazon after reading The Topping Book & The Bottoming Book, and I got it through Kindle Unlimited

Notable quotes The power actually goes both ways because the dominant, by controlling and caring for the submissive, actually empowers the submissive to be who and what they truly are

My thoughts Before we go any further, I feel it is relevant (but also possibly TMI for some) to note that I am a submissive, have known it since my early 20s WAAAY before terrible horrible things like Fifty Shades happened (and that’s a whole ‘nother rant for another day! LOL). Continuing in the TMI thread, neither my Dominant or I have any recent experience and have been doing what all good nerds do, and reading up to refresh ourselves.

This is a really well-written, informative beginner’s guide on what it means to be a submissive. It’s very informal, peppered with anecdotes of Kinsey’s own life/experience and feels like she’s sitting and chatting with you. It doesn’t assume any former knowledge, and is aimed at educating the reader without lecturing.

Part of me wishes I could have read this 10 years ago – I would have found the information on communities and red flags when it comes to Dominants and online behaviour to have been invaluable. But it was also nice to almost have confirmation that the way we’re currently doing things now is ‘right’ – we all need a little external validation from time to time, after all .

4/5, I really loved it, wouldn’t necessarily read the whole thing again but would dip in and out of it as/when needed

book blogger hop

Favourite Protagonist Characteristics

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the meme on February 15, 2013. Check out the hop here!

Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book-related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

The Question of the week is: What are your favorite characteristics of a main character?

I’ve been mulling this over for a couple of days now and I don’t know if I have any when it comes to book characters. I definitely do when it comes to tv/movie characters though – I am a sucker for the socially-awkward geek. Pretty much any show, you can guarantee they will be my favourite character and I’ll probably end up with a fictional crush on them. We’re talking everyone from Fox Mulder, Hermione Granger, Penelope Garcia, Sam Carter, Daniel Jackson and my biggest most long-standing crush, Willow Rosenberg (seriously, I burst into tears meeting Alyson Hannigan – Willow was the first time I ever saw me in a character and it was amazing)

And my Li? Yeah, she is 100% a socially-awkward geek. But then again, so am I so it all works out 😀

sunday post

Sunday Post: The Queue, lots of cooking, and finally finishing something

The Sunday Post is a blog news meme hosted at Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and things received.

It has been quite a slow, but also sad week. I haven’t mentioned anything about the death of The Queen here before but the monarchy is a special interest of mine, and while part of me has been enjoying watching history in action (and discovering I know the words to the Proclamation!), I’ve also been mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Part of me wishes I could have gone down to Westminster Hall to pay my respects, but while my agoraphobia is starting to ease, just seeing that many people in one place (and no one wearing a mask) is giving me the heebie-jeebies.

Then there’s The Queue. Yes, there’s an accessibility queue for those of us who are unable to stand in an 18+ hour queue (I sometimes struggle to stand long enough to do the dishes), it’s limited and available slots fill up quite quickly. I have, however, spent the last couple of days utterly fascinated by The Queue from a sociological perspective. I also think it’s one of the most British things we could do to honour our late Monarch, and personally find the number of people going to pay their respects to be incredibly moving.

It’s also been the 7th anniversary of my mum dying this week, so my emotions are all over the place.
For example, last night, I discovered the layout of a 2023 planner I wanted wasn’t going to work for me, and the level of sadness I experienced for that definitely felt out of proportion.

Other than that, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking again this week – which reminds me, I wanted to work on the layout for my cooking blog and properly figure out what I’m going to do with it.
Monday I made us Tomato & Courgette risotto
Tuesday was Crab & Lemon spaghetti with peas
Thursday was Slow Cooker Pork with cheesy mash
Last night we had tuna steak with a citrus rub and garlic butter crushed potatoes
I really love to cook!

I had some lovely Book Mail this week – I bought myself a paperback copy of Peter Ackroyd’s History Of England: Foundation when I realized I didn’t want to give the library their copy back. And I also got myself a signed hardback of Dan Jones’ Essex Boys – which was quite the dilemma, actually! I don’t usually like hardbacks, so I was planning on getting the kindle edition, then buying the paperback when it came out but then WH Smith had the signed hardbacks for £8.49

Speaking of books, I’ve actually managed to finish a handful of books, so there should be another round of mini-reviews coming this week. I’ve finished Anne Rice – Interview With The Vampire and Heidi Swain – Summer At Skylark Farm, and I’m on track to finish Mary Beard – Pompeii, Mira Grant – Chimera, Kate Kinsey – How To Be A Healthy & Happy Submissive AND Stephen Law – Philosophy next week!

I’ve also been listening to a lot of 80s/90s soft rock this week (forever my favourite genre) and I shall leave you with my song of the week which is Def Leppard – Photograph