Monthly Round-Up | January 2017



Woohoo! We Made It! We Got Through January!! *High Fives!* 

I cannot believe seriously how quickly the first month of the year has gone! I thought it would be a really cool thing to do if each month I did a round up of what happened, what I blogged about and mark them against my goals. So let's kick it off because January has been one really busy month! 

First off I've blogged ... 17 times this month! That's huge for me haha. 

And I've actually grown my readership by nearly 2000 people!!!!! OMG YOU ARE AMAZING! THANK YOU!!! 

I've taken part in ... 4 (5) blog tours!!! I've found that the hardest if I'm honest because for me I usually host 1 or 2 a month max, so 4 - 5 really pushed my boundaries - and alas I'm going to perhaps cut it down a bit until I feel ready to up the ante again. I'd rather do a brill job than a half-assed one! 

I've reviewed a book outside my usual genre - Gardening! 

My reading genre focus this month has been between ...Romance/Chick Lit & Young Adult and to be honest I've loved that balance perfectly this month with a couple of crime books! I've found my love of YA fiction grow every month since last summer when I began devouring a dystopian trilogy - I'm hooked and will definitely be bringing more YA to A Page of Fictional Love this year and beyond. 

I've actually become much more dedicated to my Crochet and have learnt a ton of new stitches which I will be showing you over the coming weeks and months. 

I've been ... running 4 times this month which given my nerves in my leg and back (sciatica & Peripheral neuropathy) is a HUGE accomplishment for me - It's definitely made a positive difference on my body especially my waist, hips and thighs not to mention my mindset and anxiety. 

I've gotten myself a brand new job! Yay!!! 

Oh and I've travelled somewhere new for the first time on my own which I'm proud of because my anxiety sometimes stops me from doing things like that! 

OK so now - let's round up the reviews; 

Blog Tours

The Legacy of Lucy Harte - by Emma Heatherington 


Secrets and Fries at the Starlight Diner - by Helen Cox 


From Rome with Love - by Jules Wake

The Silk Weaver -  by Liz Trenow




Young Adult Reviews 



The Selection - by Kiera Cass 

Kindred Spirits - by Rainbow Powell 

The One Memory of Flora Banks  - By Emily Barr 

Before The Snow - by Danielle Paige

The Memory Book - by Lara Avery


Crochet / Craft 


Crochet Mood Blanket 




Reviews 


Review - Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell 

Review - Succulents by Robin Stockwell 

Review - Lost Girls by Angela Marsons 


Misc. 


Blogging Goals for 2017 

Blogging Tag - Book Reading Habits 

Cover Reveal - The Woman Who Met Her Match by Fiona Gibson 


Phew! That was a lot! I'd love to hear what you're favourite post of the month was here and also what book did you really enjoy this month? 

If I had to choose a favourite book of the month it would be a tie between these two... 

 

The reason I chose these two is because they both touch the issue of memory loss, they both come from the Teen/YA genre, and they both discuss memory loss in unique ways; one resulting from trauma, the other a disease attacking the mind (dementia). 

Review | The Memory Book - Lara Avery



Title | The Memory Book 

Author | Lara Avery 

Publisher | Hachette Children's Group / Quercus Children's Books 

Genre | Teens & YA 


Source | Review Copy

Published | 26th January 2017

Rating | 5/5 



Summary 

“They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I'll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I'm writing to remember.”
Samantha McCoy has it all mapped out. First she's going to win the national debating championship, then she's going to move to New York and become a human rights lawyer. But when Sammie discovers that a rare disease is going to take away her memory, the future she'd planned so perfectly is derailed before it’s started. What she needs is a new plan.
So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. Realising that her life won't wait to be lived, she sets out on a summer of firsts: The first party; The first rebellion; The first friendship; The last love.
Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it's not the life she planned.
A life-affirming, heart-breaking and dazzling novel for fans of All the Bright Places and The Fault in Our Stars.



Lara Emery has written a highly emotive book that tingles your heart strings throughout the book - right until the very last word. I admit that I cried at several intervals throughout the book, but please don't let that deter you from reading it. The Memory Book addresses a highly emotive illness that in it's more well known state touches so many lives. I'm talking about Dementia. But can you imagine that illness taking control of your body when you are just a teenager? 

Sammie is a highly intelligent young lady who thrives on learning - she almost reminded me of Harriet from Geek Girl by Holly Smale - (I believe Harriet and Sammie would have made the best of friends had they been introduced to each other.) Sammie is ValeDictorian, she thrives on debates, on arguing her point, on memorising the most intricate details and statistics. But at 14 years old was diagnosed with a rare form of dementia. 

The story details how she writes a Memory book so that if the dementia takes over (which she believes she can get better from) then she will have a way of remembering everything - and I mean everything!  

The tender way in which Lara wrote about this topic can be only applauded, the delicate approach was clearly evident in the chapters that delved deeper into Sammie's experience. My heart slowly broke over the chapters as I felt that I was almost witnessing Sammie's battle with this rare form of dementia as it slowly took her hostage. 

I urge everyone to read this book, especially if you enjoyed reading The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (click the link to read my review). Without a doubt The Memory Book will move you and touch you deeply. This is definitely one of the books for 2017. 

Congratulations Lara for not only writing a beautiful and emotionally delicate story that touches upon a very important condition, but for raising awareness of this rare form of dementia. Before reading this, I had no idea such a condition for young people existed. 

Easily awarded 5/5 stars. 


Cover Reveal | The Woman Who Met Her Match - Fiona Gibson



Today on A Page of Fictional Love, I am delighted to be sharing with you a cover reveal of Fiona Gibson's latest book "The Woman Who Met Her Match". 

What if your first love came back on the scene. . . 30 years later?

After yet another disaster, Lorrie is calling time on online dating. She might be single in her forties, but she’s got a good job, wonderful children and she’s happy. This, Lorrie decides, is going to have to be enough.

That is, until she receives a very unexpected request from France. Antoine Rousseau, who had once turned a lonely French exchange trip into a summer of romance, wants to see her – after thirty years.

But Lorrie is a responsible woman. She can’t exactly run off to Nice with the man who broke her teenage heart . . . can she?

You can get your copy this Easter 13th April (eBook), 20th April (paperback) - Pre-order The Woman Who Met Her Match now 

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Blogging Tag | Reading Habits




Hi there!

I want to shake things up a little here on A Page of Fictional Love this year and what better way than to start blogging more about books in a way that isn't always book reviews?!

Today I thought it would be really fun to do a book blogging tag -I've seen a few around and my mission is to do at least one a month this year (but will probably - maybe do more). So, today I'm doing the Reading Habits Book Tag that I saw over at The Bibliophile Girl who by the way has a gorgeous blog that you should definitely be checking out.  


Let's get started! 



We all have our own way of reading and whilst we can share many pinterest worthy bookisms they do differ depending on the person. I'm going to share with you the habits I have when reading a book giving you an insight to how I read. 


Do You Have A Certain Place For Reading At Home? 

Not really if i'm honest. I can most definitely park my bottom almost anywhere to read. But my main reading spots include; Bathtub - there is nothing better than lying back and relaxing with a good book amongst the bubbles!, Lounge/Living Room - cosy arm chair!, Garden - but only in the warmer weather - I don't sit out dressed as a snowman in the cold weather :) , and of course the bedroom. 

Bookmark or Random Piece of Paper? 

Bookmark or a sticky note are my choice. I love a good book mark and have a fair few to be honest, but sometimes it's easier to move a sticky note especially when in the bathtub - I do not want to risk dropping my gorgeous bookmarks in the bathtub so sticky notes are a must to prevent damaging them. 

Can You Just Stop Reading or Do You Have To Stop After A Chapter/Certain Amount of Pages? 

Ahhh this one is easy. I have to stop at the end of a chapter. I cannot stop halfway down a page, or at the end of the page when a sentence carries on, or halfway into the chapter. It has to most definitely be at the end of the chapter. But that's what everyone does... right? 

Do You Eat or Drink Whilst Reading? 

Hmmm depends. I can eat whilst reading but I don't do that to be honest - I like to focus properly and eat mindfully. However saying that I do drink whilst reading... it's my fuel! 

Multitasking: Music of TV Whilst Reading? 

Oh this drives me up the wall. If i had to have one of them (and I really don't like any background noise whilst reading) it would have to be music - and when I say music I mean relaxing, serene, classical music. Like I said, I don't want to be distracted. 

One Book At A Time or Several?

Erm... Several! I rarely find myself simply reading one book at a time. I know I should probably just read one at a time, but I can't... I am a tad hyperactive so I find reading a couple (OK-Several) of books keeps me going. 

Reading At Home or Everywhere?

I have to say, reading at home. I tend to read if I'm in a waiting room using my Kindle App on my phone - this is why I try to read one paperback and one ebook at the same time - always have something to read. But I do read more at home, it's my way of relaxing. And I can't read whilst travelling - I get travel sick and I doubt anyone would want me throwing up in their car. 

Read Out Loud or Silently In Your Head?

In my head - although occasionally I'll read out loud if there's a funny bit I just can't wait to share with someone. I have also read (funnily enough) that reading out loud is good for you health wise - why exactly I can't remember - but knowing my luck it will probably be to do with memory haha. 

Do You Read Ahead or Skip Pages? 

No No No. Just No. Like...NO!!! What's the point? If you're going to read... do it properly. 

Breaking The Spine or Keeping it Like New?

OMG why would anyone break the spine of a book???!! Seriously?? Don't do that! I have to keep the spine in perfect condition. I try so hard and mostly succeed unless there are those monsters of books that are just impossible to read without breaking the spine and then I feel like I've failed. :( It's like when the covers get damaged and someone flippantly says "Oh well shows it's been read" I'm like OMG NO!!! Just don't spoil the book. 

Do You Write In Your Books? 

Textbooks for studying... yes. I never used to but now I've realised how much time it saves from taking all those notes when I can simply underline, highlight and margin doodle! But as for precious book? Nope. Absolutely not. I take pics of the parts of books I like, or I write them down in a notebook. So, textbooks - Yes, Booky Books... NOOOO! 


And that's the end of the Book Reading Habits Tag, I hope you've enjoyed it and now know some of my book habits. I now tag YOU to do it on your blog BUT there's a condition... Link back to this blog saying where you found the tag (c'mon let's be nice!), and then when you've posted, pop back and share your link below so we can all read your book habits too! (It'll grow your readership too!) 

Until Next Time, 

Love your Books, Love Your Life, 
Dawn-Tracy xxx

Book Review | Before The Snow - Danielle Paige


Title | Before The Snow

Author | Danielle Paige 

Publisher | Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Purchase | Amazon 

Source | Purchased 

My Rating | 5/5 




Book Summary 

Enter a world of elemental magic, forbidden romance, and betrayal in this prequel to New York Times bestselling author Danielle Paige's upcoming Stealing Snow.

Young Nepenthe is half-princess, half-mermaid. Though she longs for the sea, her father wants her to stay on land. But only love can make a mermaid give up the water, and Nepenthe doesn't love anyone the way her mother loves her human father. She wants to live as a mermaid and become the River Witch, like her mother.

Then Nepenthe meets Prince Lazar, the son of the all-powerful Snow King of Algid, and she can't help but fall for him. After a horrible tragedy strikes, Nepenthe joins forces with a young fire witch named Ora to save Lazar and protect the kingdom. But it soon becomes clear that Ora loves Lazar just as much as Nepenthe does... And now Nepenthe must decide: inherit the power of the River Witch, or betray her friend to be with the boy she loves.

And Nepenthe's role in the prophecy is only just beginning. . . In the future, she is destined to cross paths with a girl named Snow, who will have the power to change Algid forever-for better, or for worse.





Before The Snow is a short novella as a prequel to Stealing Snow which came out a little after. I really enjoy reading novella prequels as they give you a valuable insight into the main story. You discover characters motivations for the way in which their personality comes across, and you literally get the back-story to the entire story. 

In Before The Snow we meet Prince Lazar, Nepenthe, Margot, and Ora. They are the main characters who actually follow on into the next Novella (review coming soon!). Nepenthe is just the sweetest River Witch I've ever read about. She has this warm heart from the time when she was human, but she has the most captivating magic which has been developed overtime as she's lived in the Hollow. 

Margot and Nepenthe are just like sisters yet there is no such thing as family really, as Margot learns and soon it's each to their own - and everyone is out for themselves.But in dire circumstances as according to the prophecy, there has to be a collaboration. 

I was gripped as I flicked through every single page, hungrily wanting more. By the end of the novella I was kind of rooting for a couple of the characters, and really annoyed with one of them - but do we really know all there is to know about them? Perhaps not. 

Overall, this was a really interesting and well written introduction to what is to come! I can't wait to read Stealing Snow now, which is lucky - because the wonderful publishers gave me an ARC copy last year - so I'll be devouring that soon enough. It was a wonderful insight into fantasy novels and for the YA/Children's genre I can see why it's such a huge hit. If you're a fan of the Dorothy Must Die series (as I am), or the Lunar Chronicles then you will definitely enjoy this. 





Blog Tour | The Silk Weaver - Liz Trenow




Title | The Silk Weaver 

Author | Liz Trenow 

Publisher | Pan Macmillan 

Purchase | Amazon 


Book Summary 


A novel of illicit romance set against the world of the silk trade in London

Anna Butterfield moves from her Suffolk country home to her uncle's house in London, to be introduced to society. A chance encounter with a local silk weaver, French immigrant Henri, throws her from her privileged upbringing to the darker, dangerous world of London's silk trade. Henri is working on his 'master piece' to make his name as a master silk weaver; Anna, meanwhile, is struggling against the constraints of her family and longing to become an artist. Henri realizes that Anna's designs could lift his work above the ordinary, and give them both an opportunity for freedom…

This is a charming story of illicit romance, set against the world of the burgeoning silk trade in eighteenth-century Spitalfields - a time of religious persecution, mass migration, racial tension and wage riots, and very different ideas of what was considered 'proper' for women.

Published by Pan Macmillan, 26 January 2017 in paperback priced £7.99




Today I am very happy to be handing my blog over to Liz Trenow for a short Q&A. I am sure you will find her answers fascinating, and even more so be urged to purchase a copy of the book for yourself and devour every page. Enjoy! 


1. Please tell me a little about yourself, Liz

I worked as a journalist with regional and national newspapers and on BBC radio and television news, before turning my hand to fiction rather late in life! 

I was born and brought up in Sudbury, Suffolk next to the mill which is the oldest silk weaving company in Britain and one of just three still operating today. I still live in East Anglia with my artist husband, we have two grown up daughters and, just this year, a granddaughter! 

My first three books have also been published in a number of other countries and in translation: The Last Telegram, The Forgotten Seamstress (a New York Times bestseller) and The Poppy Factory. 

2. Where did you get the inspiration for the characters in your novel?

My heroine, Anna, is inspired by the eminent silk designer, Anna Maria Garthwaite, who lived and worked in a house just a few doors away from where my family’s silk weaving business started in the 1700s. I was intrigued to think that they must have known and worked with her.

Anna Maria was one of the most celebrated textile designers of the eighteenth century, her silks were worn by royalty and nearly a thousand of her designs are in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.  Yet no-one knows how she learned her craft or how an unmarried middle-aged woman managed to develop such a successful business in a male dominated industry. It is this mystery that sparked the idea for the novel.

The boy she falls in love with, Henri, is a Huguenot (Protestant) whose family fled persecution in France by the Catholic king. Many Huguenots made perilous journeys in small boats across the Channel to reach safety in England.  I became fascinated by the parallels with what is happening to refugees today and wanted to highlight them in this novel.

3. The Silk Weaver is set in in 1760s Spitalfields - are there any remaining features from that time left in the area?

It’s a wonderful area, still full of history. Many of the houses are just as they would have been back then and although the market building was demolished and replaced with a modern structure a few years ago, the wonderful Christ Church still stands proud over the landscape. The French Church Henri went to is still there, too. Since then, it has been a synagogue and then a mosque, reflecting the different waves of immigrants the area has been home to. 

4. How did you go about researching the novel?

I did masses of research, especially as before this I knew very little about the 18th century, and I loved every moment of it. 
I spent nearly a year visiting museums, art galleries, libraries and Georgian houses, as well as reading very widely. Of course I also spent a lot of time in Spitalfields itself, at Christ Church (where my ancestors were baptised, married and buried) and other venues and museums in the area. It was also a great excuse to visit Georgian towns like Bath again, to get my head into the era. 
For a whole year I read nothing but books about 18th century London and novels either written in, or set in, the period! 

5. If you could be one fictional character who would you choose?

Superwoman / man! 
I’d love to be able to fly, save people, sort out the world’s problems, and come back to my job as a journalist after lunch.



Liz Trenow is the author of three previous historical novels: The Last Telegram, The Forgotten Seamstress and The Poppy Factory. Liz's family have been silk weavers for nearly three hundred years, and she grew up in the house next to the mill in Suffolk, England, which still operates today, weaving for top-end fashion houses and royal commissions. This unique history inspired her first two novels, and this, her fourth novel.
Liz is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in East Anglia, UK, with her artist husband, and they have two grown-up daughter.




Be sure to check out the other stops along the tour as I'm sure you will enjoy them immensely. 

Until Next Time, 

Love your Books, Love Your Life, 
Dawn-Tracy xxx





Blog Tour | From Rome With Love - Jules Wake


Title | From Rome with Love 

Author | Jules Wake 

Publisher | HarperImpulse 

Publication Date | 13th January 2017 

Source | Review Copy 

Purchase | Amazon 

My Rating | 5/5 


About The Book 


Rome is the city of love and seduction, right? Not if you find yourself staying in a beautiful apartment with your childhood-friend-turned-arch-enemy, Will Ryan… no matter how hot he is!
Romance is the last thing on Lisa’s mind. She’s got more important things to focus on, like hunting down her estranged father. Except when her search falls at the first hurdle, Will doesn’t just help her get back on track, he also shares the romantic sights – and exquisite tastes – of the Eternal City, and Lisa starts to wonder if it’s not just Rome seducing her.
Only, as Lisa and Will dig into the past, neither of them is prepared for the long-buried secrets they reveal. Secrets that will turn both their world’s upside down…



Rome is a city that I have always dreamed of visiting - in fact any part of Italy is right there on my bucket list, so when Harper Impulse invited me to read an advanced proof copy of Jules Wake's new book and take part in the blog tour - I jumped at the chance! 

Jules has this ability to captivate the reader and reel you in within the first few pages. I was drinking up every delicious word from the sarcasm which made me laugh out loud to the beautiful description of Rome through Lisa's eyes. 

We meet Lisa right on the first page where she is having what can only be described as a hilariously loving relationship with her Nan who is so funny I couldn't help but adore her. Nan has never really been fond of Lisa's father who upped and left when lisa was only small. Add to that the fact that he didn't stick around following her Mother's passing - even though he attended the funeral. Lisa felt heart pangs at the thought that her own dad left behind his little girl who was grieving for her mother. So Nan brought her up. 

Lisa decides to travel to Rome - alone - which I have to say is really brave in my opinion. My other half travels all the time but for me - well I'd be too scared! I know - but that's me. So, Lisa was like my shero! The airport scenes and the take off of the plane really had me grinning from ear to ear.

Jules has written a clever piece of romantic fiction that has my heart longing for Rome even more than I thought it already was. The twists and turns along with the heart-warming scenes to come throughout the book will just have you falling in love all over again. 

In this gloomy dull weather in the UK right now - the beautiful Rome will transport you to one of the most gorgeous places in the world and you won't even have to weigh your suitcase! 

A deliciously lovable read that has warmed my heart on these cold evenings. 





Review | Succulents - Robin Stockwell


Title | Succulents - The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Designing, and Growing 200 Easy Care Plants

Author | Robin Stockwell 

Publisher | Time Inc

Publishing Date | 31 January 2017

Pages | 288 Pages 

Source | Review Copy 

Purchase | Amazon 

My Rating | 4/5 

About The Book 

Inspiring, practical and richly photographed, this comprehensive guide offers creative ideas and DIY projects using beautiful low-maintenance, water-wise plants 

Succulents are the ultimate easy-care plant: versatile, effortless to grow both indoors and outdoors, and drought tolerant. From Aloe and Agaves, to Senecio and Taciveria, this handbook by leading garden expert Robin Stockwell highlights 200 of the easiest, most useful, and gorgeous plants, and shares advice on care and cultivation. Readers will find inspiration for imaginative and exciting new ways to use succulents in striking garden designs, containers, vertical walls, and indoor arrangements, as well as step-by-step projects, such as living bouquets and terrarium ornaments.

This is the essential reference for landscapers, home gardeners, and anyone looking for a thorough introduction to the perfect plant for modern times.



I love getting out into the garden, and I have to admit that I have learnt most of it from my Mum. As a little girl I'd accompany my Mum and Dad to the garden centres out in the countryside and I learnt about buying plants, choosing the right ones, looking for healthy growth above and below the soil, the types of plants that work best in certain soil types and what looked aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

I'd then help Mum plant them and care for them in our gardens at homes. Since I've become an adult I know that these are skills I've been so blessed to have been taught that will be very useful when the times comes for me to tend to my own garden with my other half. I generally become alive when I'm in the garden, surrounded by nature or in garden centres (take note Mr S - so does my Mum!) but as someone who loves to learn new things, I jumped at the chance to review this book. 

Succulents are plants that I have around 3 varieties of at home, but other than the fact that they grow in any soil - perfect for the dry soil on my front garden as you need a road digger to penetrate that earth, I don't know very much about them. 

In Succulents, Robin has given very high quality detail of how to look after these plants, how to plant them, where to plant them, and given really inspirational ideas of how to make them look very pleasing on the eye. This book goes beyond just listing the plant name (including latin name), height, spread, soil type, and time of the year. What Robin has created is almost an encyclopedia of everything you need to know about Succulents.

As a beginner to gardening technicalities this book would be brilliant for someone wanting a beautiful yet easy to maintain garden. The plant placements are almost contemporary yet minimalist - if you have OCD this might be for you! I actually said to my Mum over the past few months that I just really want to create an area in the garden for Succulents - and this book has given me the tools and knowledge of how to do just that. 

A really wonderfully insightful book dedicate to a variety of plants and style of gardening that could be embraced this year. It's never too early to plan ahead. 



Review | The One Memory of Flora Banks - Emily Barr



Title | The One Memory of Flora Banks

Author | Emily Barr 

Publisher | Penguin Random House Children's 

Genre | Teen / YA 

Source | Review Copy 

Pages | 320 Pages

Purchase | Amazon 

My Rating | 5/5 

You always remember your first kiss.
Flora remembers nothing else...

"I look at my hands. One of them says 'Flora, be brave'. I am Flora."

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can't remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn't have kissed - and the next day she remembers it. The first time she's remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone.

Desperate to hold onto the memory, she sets off to the Arctic to find him.

Why can she remember Drake? Could he be the key to everything else she's forgotten?




This book without a doubt is definitely the one to watch for 2017, it will undoubtedly be BIG in the world of YA. I wouldn't be surprised if Zoella picked it up and added it to her book club collection. 

I can't remember the last time that I cried at the ending of a book so hard. The One Memory of Flora Banks touches issues of illness, survival, heartache, the quest of true love all wrapped up with one girl with memory loss. 

Flora Banks is seventeen years old and she has memory loss. She has been told by her parents that she had a tumor when she was ten years old and has memory loss due to the operation that took part of her brain away. She fails to remember anything beyond a couple of hours. So when her memory resets itself multiple times a day she has only the words to explain who she is and what she must do.
Flora is the girl who writes on her hand - "Flora - Be Brave". She takes medicine every day. She has anterograde amnesia. She has failed to remember anything since she was ten years old. She has all her memories from before the operation, but nothing since.

Until she kissed Drake. On the beach. She remembers that. 

But he has gone to the Arctic - a place he has longed to live. But Flora must stay here - in Penzance. Her parents have gone to France to be with Jacob; her brother and Flora is staying at home with Paige. But Drake was Paige's boyfriend and she knows about the kiss, so they are not friends anymore.

Flora, despite her memory loss and the restrictions everyone has placed on her decides to go to the Arctic to find Drake. And so begins Flora Banks' adventure.

Each page was compelling, and although repetitive through the voice of Flora's narration, you really find yourself immersed deeply into the mind of Flora in a way I haven't seen an author do before. As I turned each page I did with an earnest to travel further with Flora and discover what becomes of her. 

What I wasn't quite expecting was the ending which had me reaching for tissues and sobbing my heart out. I adore Flora Banks, and I think she is a superb role model to showcase that you really can do anything you put your mind to. 

If one thing is for sure is that as a reader, you fall undeniably in love with Flora's story. You will not only cheer her on and want the very best for her but you will feel a fierce protective nature towards her. Just reminiscing now as I write this has had a flurry of tears run from my eyes as this book has etched its name and the memory of it upon my heart. 

Well done and congratulations Emily Barr on your young adult novel. It is simply outstanding. 


Crafts | Crochet Mood Blanket 2017



I love the quote above - because most likely it's true! When someone picks up a crochet hook and starts sharing their passion publically with friends it becomes a chain reaction - they all want a piece of your action! 

Today's post is my first post of 2017 on the crafts I do in my life - crochet. I first discovered crochet a couple of years ago now (I think it's about 3 years ago) and I have been a hooker ever since - a crochet hooker that is! 

There is something so deeply meditative and therapeutic about it that it instantly takes me to a portable zen den whenever I pick up my hook and crochet. It doesn't really matter what I have on my hook - it just creates that state of inner peace and calm. 

Last year, as many of you know was an awfully tough year for me having lost my auntie, but I wanted something beautiful to come out of the experience so I chose to document my moods and emotions in a mood blanket. No, it wasn't all black - in fact there was only one day that black was a colour in my blanket and that was on Halloween - you know, for the sake of symbolism.

A mood blanket, more specifically a crochet mood blanket is where you crochet a square a day (any pattern) in a colour that resembles a mood that has predominantly been the most active in you during the day. For example, I always chose a bright pink when I felt loved, beautiful and happy, or a blue for when I was feeling sad, upset or anxious. 

My bereavement counsellor loved my idea of documenting my journey and even took photos of it to share at their meetings where the counsellors all discussed methods of coping for their patients.

So, this year, I'm doing one again. I enjoy dedicating a small amount of my evening to focusing on my day, calling up all I was grateful for and selecting a colour and creating something beautiful to look back on for years to come. I've made a few changes, such as the square pattern, the size, and the colour meanings. For example; last year I had mint green for feeling healthy, whereas this year I've chosen a zesty and vibrant lime green for those days, and blue was for sad and anxious days whereas this year blue symbolises the days I've felt so calm and zen like. I've also introduced a few colours too that wasn't in last year's blanket and taken a couple out. 



This photo is taken from my first few days into the new year - so I apologise that it's not right up to date, but it still shows the start to my year. As you can see I've had a calming, loving and healthy start to 2017 and since then it's only gotten better. In my next post when I update you on my blanket (probably the end of February) you'll see the zesty yellows and powerful confident reds.

Do you crochet? Ever created a mood blanket? If so & you've posted a pic online or blogged about it, why not leave a comment below with your link so we can all take a look and celebrate the beautiful handmade item that is precious to you.

Let's grab a hook & start a chain reaction, 

Love Dawn-Tracy
xxx