Book Review: “Raven’s Peak” by Lincoln Cole

Raven's Peak (World on Fire, #1)Raven’s Peak by Lincoln Cole

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was given a free digital copy of Raven’s Peak by onlinebookclub in exchange for an honest review.

The story follows Demon Hunter Abigail on a personal crusade fueled by guilt and rage towards the demons who took something irreplaceable from her. Abigail is headstrong and does not play well with others. She repeatedly breaks the rules and ignores direct orders. Haatim, is an intelligent yet naive rich boy with Daddy issues who fled his native India, returning to America – the place he went to college – after the death of his sister. He blames God for her death and is engulfed in a crisis of faith when he is offered a unique and strangely tempting job offer.

Abigail and Haatim’s worlds collide as Haatim finds himself trapped in supernatural crossfire. Abigail is forced to save his life, initially a major inconvenience to her, she discovers he is more than the shy book smart, world shy boy she thought he was. Thrown together they follow reports of strange happenings in the sleepy mountain town of Raven’s Peak where they stumble into the path of an incredibly powerful demon who has possessed a young boy and is wreaking havoc throughout the town. Our unlikely duo fight to save the town from annihilation whilst battling demons of their own.

Overall, there were a lot of things I liked about this book. The character development of Abigail and Haatim being a high point. Haatim matures and Abigail softens. They become friends and help affect other in lasting ways.

Another positive for me was the action scenes,the fast paced tension made me want to keep reading. Parts of this book were real page turners. Paranormal aspects were fantastic and sprinkled with just enough realism to keep the story grounded and believable.

I liked the paranormal gore. Descriptions of gore, torture and murder may not be to everyone’s taste but I’m a huge fan of the Walking Dead so this was right up my street. This book includes heads on spikes, torn out intestines, throat slitting and a variety of other ways to die. I also appreciated the diversity of the main characters. Abigail is black, Haatim is Indian this breaks the all too familiar mold of the white male operative in this genre. I also liked that the book covers all different religions are under Haatims studies and knowledge.

Onto the not so good stuff, the first chapter of Raven’s Peak is absolutely sensational, the story starts with a hell of a bang but then fizzles and takes a while to get going again. Some parts of description are superfluous such as repeated use of ‘hand cross bow’ in a later chapter and over use of cliches such as he ‘released a breath he didn’t know he was holding’ and ‘hit her like a ton of bricks’. There are also a couple of errors in writing. For example at one point a character changes gender in the course of one sentence ‘This one had his sleeves rolled up and tattoos covering her arms’.

The novel is called Raven’s Peak but we don’t arrive there until past the halfway point of the story.

My biggest bug bear with this book though is the ending. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it, I will say though that I understand that this is book one of a series and that the author wants us to read the next installment but this book stops abruptly. We go from action, action, action to the end in a matter of a page. A huge disappointment. I can see the cliff hanger but for me instead of ‘I must get the next book now’ I felt ‘is that it?’.

Overall, I have to say that I did enjoy the book, plus first books can be a bit wobbly. I’d like to read the next installment and see what happens next. If you like fantasy stories, demons and actions scenes and can ignore a few errors here and there I think you would enjoy Raven’s Peak. It is a tale of murder, deception, faith and family and is definitely worth a read.

I give this book 3 out of 4 stars.

You can find this review on the online book club here: https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/vie…

View all my reviews

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World Poetry Day 2018

In case you were wondering:World Poetry Day is celebrated on 21 March, and was declared by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999. Its purpose is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world and, as the original UNESCO declaration says, to “give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements” ~ Sourced from Wikipedia

I can’t think of a better day to share three of my favourite poems. I’ll delve into why I chose these in a later post; for now simply enjoy!

1. Stevie Smith – Not Waving but Drowning
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

2. Jenny Joseph – Warning
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

3. I Want To Feel Your Bum – Craig Charles

I wanna feel your bum, but I know, you’ll slap me hand.

Every time I see you smile, it makes me want to stand.

I want to kiss your lips, but I’m scared about me breath.

I wanna hold your hand, but I’m half frightened to death.

I want to drop formalities and let my fingers roam, but me mum’s banging on the ceiling, telling me to take you home.

I wanna take you to the picture’s, your studys in the way.

And leaving can be grieving, when you always wanna stay.

I wanna marry you this instant, and let my feelings delve, but me Dad says I’ll have to wait, because I’m only twelve.

International Day of Happiness

Happy International Day of Happiness!

Did you know according to the World Happiness Report* Norway is the happiest country in the world? The nation leapt from 4th place in 2016 to the top of the report in 2017; whereas China is no happier now than it was 25 years ago.

The United States has fallen from 3rd in 2007 to 14th in 2017, with the UK lagging behind in 19th place. This report highlights that “happiness is both social and personal” and that the biggest cause of misery in rich countries is mental illness.

*You can view the full report here: http://www.dayofhappiness.net/report/

So what can we do to bring happiness in to our lives?

Action for Happiness are a not for profit organisation of people from 160 countries who are supported by a network of like minded organisations including Psychologies magazine, Just Giving, The Huffington Post, Headspace and many more, who are urging the world to make happiness a priority.

Their campaign is so strong that all 193 UN countries have made resolutions to make happiness a greater priority. 

For too long I thought happiness could be found in possessions, my income and even in food, but that only led to a house filled with things I don’t use, stress over what people think and an ever expanding waist line.

I got it all wrong; however, Action for Happiness have created the following list of 10 keys to happier living to help Ebenezer reclaim happiness.

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“The Ten Keys to Happier Living are based on an extensive review of the latest findings from the science of wellbeing. They are all areas which research shows tend to make a big difference to our happiness and are within our control.”

You can find out more about the list and ideas for each heading by downloading the full International Day of Happiness pack for free here: http://www.dayofhappiness.net/ 

There’s even a pack specially designed for kids.

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Will you join me in taking the Action for Happiness Pledge?

I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me

Remember not to overwhelm yourself, start small, hold a door open for someone, eat dinner with your spouse at the table instead of in front of the TV, leave a kind note in a library book. Small actions add up to big change.

I hope you’ve found this post a handy introduction to International Happiness day and the work of Action for Happiness, I’d love to hear from you, leave me a comment letting me know how you bring happiness into your life.

I’m going to end with this glorious poem from the Action for Happiness website:

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Thank you for reading if you enjoyed this post please follow me for more!
Love & Hugs
Jenna
xXx

Friction Free Shaving: Review and 25% off your first order

Has anyone seen Spring? I’m concerned that it may have gotten lost! Usually a time of Easter Eggs and Daffodils, March has brought with it a foot of snow. As I brush off my snow boots for the laborious trudge to work this evening I am dreaming of sunshine.

Of walks along the coast, ice cream cone in hand wearing my favourite skirt and sandals, soaking up the rays with my nearest and dearest. I don’t see that happening any time soon so instead I will treat myself to a bubble bath, cup of tea in my favourite Pusheen mug and indulge in some at home pampering.

Who doesn’t love a bit of pampering? It’s nice to feel nice and as I get older I realise there is truth to the adage “if you feel good, you look good“. One thing I struggle with which hinders both looking and feeling good is super sensitive skin. Years of cuts, razor burns and red raw shaving rash resulted in my giving up on shaving entirely.

I don’t believe that a woman ‘has’ to shave to feel good, I genuinely prefer to. I love the feel of freshly shaved legs and I really don’t like hair under my arms. It was this video from xAmeliax that encouraged me to order from Friction Free Shaving, it sounded like they offered the products I’ve been waiting for.

First impressions of the website were that it’s gorgeous, easy to navigate and user friendly. Within minutes I’d selected a 6 blade rose gold razor to be delivered to my door for £9 a month. Initially, I was hesitant to add additional products to my order as they seemed a little expensive and I wanted to see how I got on with the blades before I tried anything else.

My first order arrived within days. The box fits through your letter box so you don’t have to worry about missing the delivery. Your first box will contain, your chosen handle, a pack of 4 blades and a plastic blade cover.

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The whole idea of Friction Free Shaving is that to keep your shave smooth and free of irritation you need to use a high quality blade and change it each week. I follow the easy to remember ditty on the lid and change my blade on Sunday. Let’s be honest, we all have Craig David in our head now don’t we?

Honestly? I expected to be disappointed with this product. After trying several brands and experiencing skin irritation over again I was pessimistic. Oh my gawd was I wrong! This thing is amazing! My legs felt incredible and not one single cut, even over the knees which usually look like I’ve fallen off my bike after shaving – I’m so glamorous 😛  After several uses my underarm remained smooth and silky and not one dot of shaving rash. I don’t even get the post shave deodorant burn anymore. That is worth £9 a month on it’s own!

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The handle is sturdy and shaped beautifully for your grip. It doesn’t feel flimsy or plasticky like some other well known branded handles. It feels good quality and shows care in every millimetre of its design.

Each time I shave my legs I move a little higher up the leg, approaching my most troublesome area; my bikini line. This is where I’ve struggled the most with shaving rashes and razor burn in the past. I’m not all the way there yet but so far so good.

What I love about Friction Free Shaving is that if you find you are not shaving as often and would be stock piling blades to receive your next delivery you can choose to either

  1. switch your delivery to every two months; or
  2. replace your blades with another of their products. For example I don’t need blades this month as due to the snow I have been living in my leggings and not shaving my legs so I have switched out my blades and instead have the shaving gel on its way. This saves me changing my delivery dates and allows me to try the shaving gel for no extra cost.

How good is that?

If you would like to try Friction Free shaving and receive a fantastic 25% off your order you can enter my unique code MIXFTU at check out.

Using my code gives you 25% off and I will £2.50 off my next order. All customers get this fantastic opportunity when they sign up so you can share your code with your friends and receive money off.

It just gets better and better!

What is not to love!

I am genuinely thrilled with Friction Free Shaving. My skin feels wonderful and so do I. By the time summer arrives I’ll be ready to show off my legs in my favourite skirt and not have to worry about the blight of shaving rash! Hallelujah

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If you decide to try them let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading if you enjoyed this post please follow me for more!
Love & Hugs
Jenna
xXx

Unless otherwise stated all images are my own and cannot be used without express written consent

 

Etsy Store Spotlight: HandmadeByHannaRose with Discount Code

Store Name: HandmadeByHannaRose

Store Owner: Hannah Smith

Founded: 2017

URL: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HandmadeByHannaRose

Instagram: @HandmadeByHannaRose

Welcome to another Etsy Store Spotlight, if you missed my first one you can read it here. Today I want to share with you the amazing HandmadeByHannaRose. If you love hand stitched lovelies, scented candles and mugs / tea cups you are going to love this store.

Hannah makes the most beautiful delicately scented soy wax candles inspired by famous scents, set in the most gorgeous tea cups and mugs. Here is a small selection of her work:

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My absolute favourite item from Hannah is my floral make up brush roll, she lovingly hand makes each of these rolls; she even makes gorgeous kiddie sized wraps to hold crayons; how cute is that!

Whilst I was recovering from having my appendix removed Hannah kindly sent me a Get Well card, some wax melts and a £5 voucher for her store; I immediately ordered myself a sweet floral brush roll. My husband bought me a stunning set of make up brushes for Christmas, I needed somewhere to keep them safe and clean and this seemed perfect.

It arrived quickly and was wrapped beautifully in cellophane and finished with a ribbon. I immediately loved it! It feels wonderful, the roll is slightly padded and the double ribbons allow for a secure tie.

This wrap has space for 18 brushes of various sizes which you can see more clearly here:

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They fit perfectly and are beautifully padded and protected when you roll them up, the brushes don’t crash together thanks to the lovely padding inside the roll. I can’t recommend this enough, there are several colours and prints to choose from, and if you don’t see something you like send her a message, I promise you she will be happy to help.

Every part of the ordering journey with Hannah is a delight. Not only are you ordering high quality goods and supporting a small business; you are buying from a genuinely lovely person.

As a special gift all Northernbird84 readers can claim 10% off their orders at HandmadebyHannaRose. 

All you need to do is enter code NORTHERNBIRD10 at checkout!

Enjoy! 

I’d love to hear from you about Etsy stores you love! Leave me a comment or find me on social media.

Happy Shopping!!

Thank you for reading if you enjoyed this post please follow me for more!
Love & Hugs
Jenna
xXx

Anti depressants saved my life

Today I want to talk about antidepressants. There’s been a lot of debate in the media recently asking do they work? are GP’s prescribing them too readily? do we even need them? I can’t answer those questions on a national scale but I can share my experiences of taking them.

I will be honest with you, in my case I am beyond confident anti depressant medication saved my life. I have been on medication continuously now since 2013 and because of it I am able to function and live my life. Don’t get me wrong I have hard days, there is no one size fits all, fix everything anti depressant. It’s about finding the right medication for you and through trial and error finding your therapeutic dose.

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I was first diagnosed with clinical depression in August 2006, I was 22 and life felt like I was swimming through treacle; I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning and I cried all the time. It took seeing 3 GP’s for someone to explain why I was feeling this way and to give me something more useful than “go for a walk”. I was prescribed Fluoxetine better known as Prozac. Fluoxetine didn’t really work for me, if anything I felt cut off from my emotions, almost numb. After 6 months of taking it and my doctor increasing the dose from 20mg to 40mg and then to 60mg I felt disheartened and stopped taking it.

I did OK for a little while, not spectacular just OK. My relationship ended and I moved to the city closer to my job and my friends.

In February 2008 I re-diagnosed as depressed. I was desperately down, I felt useless, I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep and when asked if I had thought about suicide I said yes I had thought about it an awful lot. This GP Prescribed Trazadone Hydrochloride 150mg. This stuff is strong!! Trazadone simply knocked me out. I took it at night and within 30 minutes I wasn’t just asleep I was comatose. I would wake up the next day feeling like a zombie, but, as the GP told me I was sleeping and sleeping well for the first time in months.

After 8 weeks on 150mg the GP dropped me to 100mg in order to try to lessen the zombie feeling. I was signed off work for almost 3 months. But sure enough I started to feel better, I was sleeping, going to work, going out and socialising. This medication, whilst it had strong side effects, made a big difference. At this point I made the huge mistake of thinking, “I don’t need these any more” and stopped taking the medication cold turkey.

NEVER EVER stop taking your medication cold turkey, I was beyond poorly! Always wean off them with your doctor’s advice and support! It is not worth the horrendous withdrawal and almost inevitable relapse.

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Again I did ok for a few months, but my first miscarriage in August 2008 hit me hard and I started having panic attacks. When the attacks started they were few and far between, by the time I went to the doctors in November 2008 I was having 4 – 5 massive debilitating panic attacks a day. I couldn’t get on a bus by myself and had to be shoe horned out of the house. I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder and prescribed Citalopram 20mg.

This medication took a long time to kick in, almost 2 months, but when it did it worked like a dream! My mood lifted and I was panicking less and less. It took around 7 weeks for me to initially notice a difference and almost 6 months before I was feeling much more like myself and able to get out of the house. Sadly by this point I had been sacked because of repeated absences due to panicking when it came to leaving the house.

It was at this point I entered a rebound spiral:
Started Citalopram 20mg: Nov 2008 Finished: Oct 2009 – Doctors Advice
Started Citalopram 20mg: Oct 2010 Finished: Dec 2011 – Due to surprise pregnancy, sadly miscarried
Started Citalopram 20mg: Apr 2012 Finished: Jun 2012 – Doctor advised trying Sertraline
Started Sertraline 50mg: Jun 2012 Finished: July 2012 – Due to side effects decided to go solo for a while and see how I got on.
Started Citalopram 20mg: Nov 2012 Finished: June 2013 – Dose wasn’t working, I was still panicking frequently.
Started Citalopram 40mg: June 2013 & Started Propranolol 40mg 3x a day: June 2013

Propranolol is a beta blocker and it’s thought that if it slows your heart down physically your brain will think there is less to be anxious about. It didn’t work for me, just gave me the sweats and the runs. Niiiice.

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Each time I came off the Citalopram either due to the doctor’s advice after being on them for a year or through thinking I knew better and just stopping them I relapsed. When I relapsed I would experience panic attacks of increasing intensity until on afternoon I tried to get off a bus on a dual carriage way.  I was panicking badly, and I wanted to get off that bus more than anything, without any shadow of a doubt if the driver had opened those doors I would have gone. Into oncoming traffic.

When I experience panic attacks like this the very fabric of my reality crumbles. I can’t think and I would do anything to make it stop.

Anything.

This is why I take medication. It gives me enough stability to not experience this level of panic. It keeps me alive.

I am currently taking 30mg Citalopram daily and have done since October 2013. I have no intention of coming off this medication. For me it is vital.

Medication isn’t for everyone. However, just because it isn’t for everyone doesn’t mean that it doesn’t benefit millions of people worldwide.

I hope you have enjoyed my story. I would love to hear your input.

Thank you for reading if you enjoyed this post please follow me for more!
Love & Hugs
Jenna
xXx

Tips for Coping after a Miscarriage

No matter how supportive your family, friends and partner are, a miscarriage is nothing short of horrendous. Sadly, I know this from first hand experience, my husband and I had a chemical pregnancy in 2008 and two missed miscarriages both at 10 weeks pregnant – one in 2010 and the second in 2012.

Based on my experiences I’ve put together a short ‘survival guide’ style list of things that helped me through the nightmare. I hope that at least one of the things below can help you or someone you love.

You’re not alone
Though you may feel that no-one understands what you are going through, you will be surprised just how much better you will feel knowing that you aren’t alone. Seek out the company of other women who have been through or are going through a miscarriage.

They can be a valuable source of information and advice from what to ask your doctor to ways to remember you angel baby. I found this support on an online forum, there are literally hundreds out there, including groups on Facebook with thousands of women supporting each other.

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Let it all out
If you feel like screaming – Do it!! If you feel like crying until you just can’t anymore – Do it!! If you want to shout like a crazy woman – (you’ve guessed it) Do it!! Bottling up all these emotions will only make you feel worse.Trust me! Our last miscarriage was in February 2012, I bottled everything up until it all came crashing down in the August.

While you may feel you have to stay strong for your partner, children or family you have to allow your grief to surface. Spend some time alone and allow yourself to grieve, cry in the shower if you have to; you’re not invincible and no-one is expecting you to be.

Ignore certain ‘advice’
There are certain types of people who insist on imparting their wisdom, the topic of miscarriage is no different. I have had lots of this ‘advice’ including such gems as, “you didn’t lose a baby, it was just cells”, “there must have been something wrong with the baby” and my personal favourite, “you can always try again”.

As impossible as it sometimes feels try not to She Hulk in their faces.  I honestly believe that some people, even family members, think they’re genuinely helping by telling us these things. I know it’s hard but do try to let the words go in one ear and straight out the other, 9 times out of 10 these people have never experienced the pain of a miscarriage.

You ARE allowed to grieve
It doesn’t matter how far on your were when you lost your precious baby, you have suffered a bereavement and you ARE entitled to grieve. From the second you got your positive pregnancy test you were having a baby, you were going to be a Mum and that child meant everything to you, you loved them with all your heart from that very second. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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He is hurting to
It was my experience that family and friends asked after me, “how is she?”, “is she coping?” and so on. No-one asked me how James was doing. Men are expected to be strong for their partners and it seems to be forgotten that your child was his baby to. He is also grieving, let him! Hold him, let him cry, he also loved your child and was excited to be a Dad. It may take some time for him to admit that he is hurting, be gentle and let him open up in his own time. You will be glad you did, sharing this experience just as fully as you did the pregnancy will bring you closer.

Say Goodbye
If you had an early miscarriage chances are you will not have had a funeral for your little one and may feel that you have been robbed of the chance to say good bye. The two of you can mark your child’s passing in your own special way. Some plant a tree, others create a memory necklace, we chose to release Chinese Lanterns up into the sky and say our goodbyes as we watched them float away. It was very emotional for both of us but offered the closure and the opportunity to say goodbye that we both needed.

Allow yourself to heal physically
I had a D+C operation after both my missed miscarriages. At the first one I expected to be up and about the day afterwards. I had to be reminded that I had had an operation and needed to take it steady. Allow yourself to heal, just because there is no incision doesn’t mean you haven’t had surgery. The general anesthetic itself will take several days to leave your system and may make you feel groggy and disorientated; I personally felt like I was going through the longest hangover in history. Look after yourself the same way you would if you had had any other operation.

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It’s not their fault
If like me you lost your baby whilst a family member/close friend is pregnant try not to resent them. It isn’t their fault that your pregnancy ended and theirs continued. Everywhere you go you will feel as though you are surrounded by pregnant women and couples with babies, truth is they have always been there, we are just more susceptible to them now.

Take a deep breath and hold your head high your time will come and when it does you will be just as happy as they are. They aren’t doing it on purpose, it isn’t a personal attack they are just happy, allow them to be. The green eyed monster has been my biggest stumbling block after my miscarriages. Even know, 6 years after my last pregnancy I have to remind myself that whatever happened to me pregnancy is a beautiful thing no matter who I am looking at.
Don’t be scared to ask for help
If you feel like you aren’t coping don’t be frightened to ask those around you for help. Your husband/partner isn’t a mind reader no matter how much we want him to be! Tell him how you feel, tell your closest girl friend, your mum, vent on your online discussion board or do all of the above. If you still don’t feel you are getting any better talk to your GP, chances are he/she has treated hundreds of women that have had miscarriages and will be able to offer the best advice/treatment for you. Charities such as the Miscarriage association are a fantastic source of information and support, don’t forget to look them up.

It’s not the end
Though it may feel like it for weeks afterwards this isn’t the end of the world. When you are both ready you can take the step towards trying for another baby. So many women who have miscarriages go on to have happy and healthy pregnancies there is no reason why this won’t happen for you.

Keep your head up and stay strong; We’ll get there.

Thank you so much for reading.

If you enjoyed this post please follow me for more!
Love & Hugs
Jenna
xXx