Cant wait to Read!

contemporary fiction, thriller


welcome to my weekly can’t wait to read spot.

Each week I will be selecting a book which is top of our ‘must read‘ list.

The Kind Worth Killing – Peter Swanson

the kind worth killing - peter swanson

Peter Swanson is the author of two novels, with his second novel ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ being recently released as of the 3rd September 2015.

Looking set to be a big hit, this novel is described as a fast paced thriller, which is challenging and full of suspense.

A plot which is described as full of twists and bound to keep you on the edge of your seats, with well drawn characters that are excellently developed and often cruel.

The novel portrays the dark side of the human psyche, so if you like warm and cuddly characters, then this may not be the book for you. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a particular character which allows insight into their minds and therefore the reasoning behind their actions.

Swanson has cleverly treated the reader with intelligence throughout the novel enabling the reader to believe they know what will happen next, only to throw in another plot twist which have been paced well throughout the novel.

A psychological thriller which I truly can’t wait to read!

A variety of fiction tailored to your literary tastes available at The Owl and Bear Gift Company


Live the life you want to live

I am often struck by how quickly life can change. Over the last ten years my life seems to have changed drastically on an almost yearly basis.  Whether that be a change in career, relationship status, becoming a parent, losing loved ones…the list goes on.  Some changes appear to happen without any control and input from yourself, they are ‘out of your hands’ life has jumped straight in and pulled the carpet out from underneath your feet and you are left lying on your back staring at the sky, wondering how you ended up here.

Other changes begin from inside, they often start with a little seed of an idea that seams to appear out of nowhere, that then germinates and takes root. It holds on tight and won’t let go, teasing your brain in quiet moments and nudging you towards what it wants.  These are the changes that interest me. I look back on my life so far and can see a chain of events, each little choice I made linking to another. Each individual choice seemingly unimportant, led me to be where I am today.

To me it seems there is some sort of synchronicity at play, leading you down a particular path and ensuring that you end up where you were always meant to be.  But if that is the case, what about the changes that we make for ourself, the ideas that pop into our head and make us change career, or move city or even country, decide we want a child when we have never had a maternal instinct before?

Is this us trying to forge our own way? Trying to create our own destiny? Or are we being nudged in that direction by some unknown force…God, angels, spirits, our higher consciousness?

I don’t have an answer, but it seems to be me that each time I have had negative experience in my life, such as burnout from work, my divorce or suffering from depression, it has been because instinctively I know I am not truly where I should be in my life, I am not being true to myself, I have made choices that ‘deep down’ I have known were not right for me. These situations seem to arise when I have made choices based on what I feel is ‘expected’ of me, or what I feel I ‘should’ do for other people; rather than what I know in my heart I ‘should’ be doing, but I take responsibility for this because I made the choice, I simply did not have enough confidence in myself at that time to make a different one.  The times I am at my happiest are when I feel I am the authentic me, living my life in a way that is comfortable to me.

Now I am not saying that it is acceptable to absolve yourself of the impact of your behaviour on others, nor am I saying that you should act in a manner that is detrimental to others (or yourself for that matter).

What I am saying is maybe we should be making the choices in life that feel right for us. Maybe we should trust ourselves a little bit more.  Maybe we shouldn’t be so afraid to do what makes us truly happy, take that leap, make that change (even if its small), live the life you want to live. Do something for yourself today, start a hobby, write a page of that novel you started last year and haven’t touched since because you were told by a friend it was a waste of time, research that journey you planned on taking ‘someday’, start selling those crafts you make on an online marketplace, dream of being an artist? take those night classes. Who knows where it will take you, because as they say ‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’

Book Subscriptions and Literary Gifts

Hello All,

As you all know I have a love of literature and all things bookish, so with that in mind The Owl and Bear Gift Company was created!

This is the perfect site for lovers of all things book related.

The site has a number of book subscription options available in a range of genres and varying lengths. The subscriptions are tailored to your specific literary interests and delivered beautifully wrapped to your door each month.

Alongside the book subscriptions are literary themed gifts such as jewellery, Christmas decorations and literary confetti, ideal to add to a book subscription or as a gift on their own.

I am very excited to start reading!

Here are a few beautiful products

Each gift is delivered beautifully wrapped
Each gift is delivered beautifully wrapped
Literary themed jewellery, I love this vintage 'Secret Garden Key' necklace
Literary themed jewellery, I love this vintage ‘Secret Garden Key’ necklace
Hand selected, subscription books delivered monthly to you door tailored to your literary tastes
Hand selected, subscription books delivered monthly to you door tailored to your literary tastes
Stylish hand crafted Christmas decorations. A stunning addition to tree, a unique 'Wuthering Heights Text' bauble.
Stylish hand crafted Christmas decorations. A stunning addition to your tree. Hand decoupaged a unique ‘Wuthering Heights Text’ bauble a perfect alternative gift.
Gift cards are available ready to personalise and send with your gifts!
Gift cards are available ready to personalise and send with your gifts!

I hope that you enjoy this site as much as I do, will definitely being asking my husband for a book subscription for Christmas!

Speak Soon

Charlotte xx

The Holiday – Day 1

Suffering with labyrinthitis for two weeks had been no fun, and tied in with the start of the school holidays meant getting rest was not proving easy. The doctor had plied me with medication in order to try and ease the constant dizziness, which made me feel like I was either:

  1. On a tiny boat on a very rough sea suffering from sea-sickness
  2. Extremely drunk and unable to walk in a straight line feeling like I had done 10 tequila shots or
  3. Both of the above simultaneously

However holiday day had arrived, my son had gone on a paternal family holiday with his dad to celebrate a significant family birthday, so my husband and I had booked what we were classing as our long overdue honeymoon, something we had looked forward too for months on end.

Now that it had arrive and I had felt too ill all week to do anything more than stagger to the kitchen for a glass of water, to say I was feeling sorry for myself was an understatement.

Nothing had been completed, no packing had taken place, the animals still needed to go to the kennels, and we didn’t even have essentials such as sun-screen (my skin is so pale just five minutes in the sun has me glowing redder than an British post box). Luckily for me my husband had booked the day off work, something he wasn’t planning on doing, as we weren’t flying until the following day from an airport three hours drive away.

He immediately turned into soldier mode, utilizing the seven Ps perfectly, packing, organizing and chivvying me along as I lay there groaning at the effort from raising my head (I’m not too proud to say I am the worlds worst patient). Anyway before I knew it he had us packed and ready to leave.

“Why are we going now? We planned on driving down first thing” I asked

“Because you need a treat and to do it this way will be easier, trust me you can sleep in the car”

Grumpily I climbed into our car and we headed off down the motorway, music on, me dozing and trying to keep my head as still as possible. With seemingly impossible speed, we pulled up outside a glorious hotel right next to the airport. Whisking me to the reception area and depositing me on a sofa incase I fell over, my husband checked us into a luxury room, something which had me clapping my hands when I saw the size of the bed, it was as big as our bedroom back at home. I climbed into it straight away snuggling into the over-filled pillows and sighing in with pure satisfaction. My husband switched the TV on and I slipped into a delicious sleep to the sound of family guy in the background.

Making life just that little bit nicer for me when I felt unwell for our holiday, I simply have to say I’ve picked a good one!

January Great Reads 2015

Happy new year to everyone, ok I know I’m a little late in saying this, but I have spent the last few weeks dealing with my inner demons and feeling the need for some solitude and so I have spent my days curled up on the sofa with wind, rain and snow blustering outside losing myself in completely absorbing fiction. Today the sun is shining and I’m feeling a little better so I thought I’d share some of my most recent favourite reads with you all.

The Shock of the Fall – Nathan Filer

A costa first novel award winner written by a talented author in his spare time around his day job as a mental health nurse. This is a story about Matt Holmes a young man with schizophrenia, struggling within the mental health system using writing as his own form of therapy.

A sensitive read encompassing Matt’s guilt and the circumstances surrounding his sibling’s death, which the reader discovers more about as the story develops. Full of memorable characters, caustic observations and a real empathy for people with this cruel disease.

Alex – Adam J Nicholai

Another debut novel, dealing with a father’s grief and ability to cope with day-to-day life after his son’s tragic death. This story had me crying in places, feeling a whole range of emotions, which are often uncomfortable. But to me if an author can make you experience what the characters are experiencing it’s a job well done. The novel had me wondering at times if the protagonist was losing his sanity or dealing with supernatural goings on, the writing making it feasible to believe many different possibilities. The topic makes every parents worst nightmares come alive and I certainly crept upstairs to my son’s bedroom more than once reading this story just to give him a kiss and whisper that I love him. An absorbing read.

The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

An unpredictable thriller, which keeps you guessing. A lonely depressed commuter to London takes comfort from imagining the lives of the people who live in the houses she passes during her daily train journey. However one day something she witnesses reveals that their lives may not be as perfect as it appears. Shortly afterwards she realizes that what she witnessed may be vitally important to a police investigation. A book based around lie and suspicion which will have you trying to work out who did it almost until the last page.

I Let you go – Clare Mackintosh

A psychological thriller that again for me was a real page-turner. The prologue drew me in and had me almost in tears and twists and turns throughout the book kept me up late wanting to read just one more chapter. Written from two points of view, the police investigating the incident that occurs in the prologue and the protagonist Jenna who has experienced a traumatic event and moves to Wales wanting to restart her life. Very cleverly written, full of emotion and characters that you cant help but like.

The End And The Beginning

As 2014 draws to a close I can’t say that I’m overly sad to say farewell to this year. Although it has had a few wonderful moments, it has possibly been one of my most difficult and stressful years so far. I have struggled with extremely little free time to spend with family and friends, financial hardship and ill-health.

However as the last few weeks of 2014 were coming to an end I have reflected on my year and realize it has also brought me a lot of life lessons.

I have learnt tenacity, patience, gratitude for what I have and the importance of living life in the moment. I have learnt more about myself in the last twelve months than I have in my previous 29 years and I now have a better understanding of my behavior, what challenges me, what makes me happy and the direction I want my life to go in, for that I am grateful for 2014.

As the New Year approaches I have been looking forward with optimism to what might occur over the coming 12 months. I hope for better health this coming year, I hope for more quality time with loved ones, and I hope that myself and my husband are able to secure new jobs, which we both enjoy and find rewarding. I am confident that this will happen, I can almost feel the good things ready to materialize in 2015.

So while I am hopeful for many things in the coming 12 months, I will also remember to continue to be thankful for what I have. If life doesn’t go to plan, and work out quite how I expect, I will remember that I am lucky in many ways. I have a home, I have a family, I have love and I have words to write. That in my mind makes me very wealthy.

To all of you, I wish you all love, health and happiness in 2015 and I look forward to getting to know you all better.

Best Wishes

Char x

Busy Busy Busy

It’s the same for everyone at the moment, I guess life becomes a little hectic at this time of year.  I have had numerous nights out and parties to attend, being a taxi driver for my son who has a better social life than me and trying to keep on top of my many book reviews from some truly fantastic authors.  However I have found my mind can’t focus on any one thing particularly well at the moment and it is becoming a little scattered and so I have been reading multiple books at any one time.  This is not something I usually do, as generally I like to give something my full attention before moving onto the next.  Maybe it’s because I have so much on my mind at the moment that my thoughts are a little scattered and that’s effecting my concentration.

Anyway, to the many of you awaiting your reviews I promise they will be up soon, thank you for being so patient.  So what have I been reading then?  Well I have being reading a fair few post apocalyptic novels, They have been great and also some Christmas books, which never fail to give me that warm festive feeling when cuddled up beside the Christmas tree, a mug of hot chocolate in hand.  Full reviews will be posted in the near future.

My writing has had to take a bit of a backseat recently aswell, although today thankfully I have had an opportunity to sit down and have managed to write about 3000 words this morning.  Which is pretty good for me.  I haven’t edited it yet mind, so I’m not looking forward to that!

Anyway, I just wanted to check in and let you all know that I haven’t disappeared.  Happy blogging

Char x

Writing Tips, Tricks and Ideas 3

Well, it has been ages since I have had the chance to blog, I don’t know where the time goes! With the festive season now being in full swing it seems I have 100 more extra jobs to do each day than usual and just when I manage to sit down to write (like today) my dog requires an emergency trip to the vets after eating grapes. (We are now home and she is feeling very sorry for herself, but at least she is no longer in danger).

So back to writing, well I have been thinking about this one for a while and it is something I do when I don’t have the opportunity to write.

So todays tip is…Music

Music and writing…I know it sounds a bit strange. However it comes in really useful whilst writing and also when you are unable to write. I make a playlist on my ipod of songs regarding the feel of a story I’m writing. This could be songs that relate to a particular character, or about a scene, or even just relating to the whole genre of the story itself. This means that if I don’t have the opportunity to write, for example if I’m driving in the car to work, I can put my playlist on and I’m still thinking about the characters and story. It helps me to get inside the feel of the story a little bit more and experience the emotion attached to it, music is great for provoking emotions and that’s why I find it so helpful.

It can also help expand your story and create new scenes and generate ideas of dialogue or express what a character is feeling. For example if you listen to a particular piece of music and let your imagination drift, then music quite often has a way of making you visualizing particular things. For instance if I listen to Canon in D major I always imagine a stone church with David Austin roses around the doorway and a wedding finally taking place between two lovers who have battled the odds to be together. Also if you imagine a movie without background music added to the scenes, it just wouldn’t have the same impact on your emotions during exciting or emotional moments than it does with great music. So this is why I use music whilst I’m writing or in between writing, to keep the idea’s for my story flowing and allowing me to feel as if I’m part of the story and experience the characters emotions.

Writing Tips, Tricks, Ideas 2

My next writing tip is one that I love doing; I do it all the time and have thousands of these items. The tip goes hand in hand with my last tip of make sure you write everything down in a notebook.

So todays top tip is…Photography

 pic 3

I use photography all the time for research and to remember the feel of a place or an event. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I believe that is true. Which is why it works so well alongside your notebook. Smart phones are ideal for this as most people tend to have their mobile (cell) phone with them all of the time. This means that they are ideal for quick snaps when you see something you may want to remember for a scene in a story or even just some small detail, for example a vase that you want to use as an important prop within a story.

So what do I do with these pictures? Well as you know I take my notebook with me everywhere, so while I have probably scribbled a few sentences down about a place, I usually take a photograph of it as well if I intend to use it somewhere within a story. Usually I take photographs of scenery, sometimes people, or objects. This means that when I get home I can print and then glue the picture in my notebook next to the words I have written down and use them to remember the key feelings I want to portray in words.

pic 1

I use photography a lot when conducting research, for example recently I wanted to write a short story about a RAF Bomber crew during WW2, so it gave my husband and I the perfect opportunity to visit a WW2 airbase museum for the day. (Luckily I have an amazing husband who supports my sudden spontaneous desires to visit obscure places). It was a fantastic day, I got to wander around making notes and taking photos of the various buildings, aircraft, uniforms and everyday items that the crew and support staff used, the music that they listened too and experience the sense of living in constant fear that each day may be their last. Having the photographs to revisit when you’re ready to write your story really helps you to recapture the feel for the place/time/era.

You don’t have to be a great photographer, I certainly am not, as long as your photographs help you to remember the feelings and sense of what you want to convey in your writing that is all that matters.