New Start!

Hello Everyone,

It has come to that time where I have taken the plunge and moved my site. I decided that I wanted a fresh start and to make my blog all about books and writing.
You will now be able to find me at http://www.embracethebookdragon.co.uk. You will still be able to find the old blog posts from this site but by March I have no idea what will happen to it.
My new blog will have new and a few old posts which I am extremely excited to bring to you.
I just wanted to thank everyone who has followed me on my Twenty Something Mind journey and I would love you to follow me on the next chapter.

Love and thank you all.

Maria

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Reading in Lockdown!

First of all, how is everyone doing in these uncertain times? I found a lot of comfort in books and films whilst in lock-down. I can happily say that I have read more books this year than I have done last year. I am very happy that I have taken part in the Goodreads challenge and targeted myself a goal of 20 books to read by the end of the year, I am already three books ahead, I consider this a huge accomplishment.

I have also noticed an increase in people’s statuses and photos that they are picking up that book that they have had on their shelves for years and never got round to it. It does seem that books are becoming rescuers to those who have grown tired of the usual things you see on TV. Especially, with us having had the amazing weather, the people were taking to their gardens, balconies, any bit of outside they can get to with their book and some music and enjoying the small benefits of being home.

Of course, there are several other things we could all be doing, such as spring cleaning, but I myself, get round to doing one room a day and then get bored. So, what better way than to pass the time (which seems to be going a hell of a lot faster than usual) than to take that book you have been meaning to read and cosy down for a few chapters.
Escape to a different world.
During lock-down I have been to Pemberly, Prythian, Los Angeles, a cliff in the south of England and a different world behind a door in a moving castle.
If you love books it is not hard to lose yourself in that world and forget for an hour or two that there is a lot of craziness in this one. It is a great way to pass the time as well. I can find myself sitting down to read and end up finishing five hours later. Utter bliss.

Now, I am back at work, but I am still making sure that I put a little time for myself at night and my days off to get some reading and writing done. It is bringing a really nice balance to my life right now which is sometimes exactly what you need. I do however, work in a bookshop so I do find that I am buying more books than I can read. Maybe it’s time for a book buying ban for a few months. Just until I can catch up on my self at least.

Don’t forget – You owe it to yourself, to take some time away from the real world and to do something that you love to do. It can be quite refreshing. You may end up feeling a lot better.

Let me know what you have been reading over lock-down? Have you managed to keep reading after going back to work?

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Music I Listen To When Writing!

Most people can only read or write while it is deathly silent, in a library or at home. Not me, I like noise. Not deafening heavy metal blasting at top volume, but nice quiet, peaceful music or the TV on a low volume. The best place is to be in a coffee shop, that has the gentle hum of people who had the same idea that morning. Ironically, there is something peaceful about a noisy area. The chance to watch the people around you, to get an idea of different peoples characters, maybe take some of their attributes and create new characters.

Now me, personally, I love going to my local coffee shop and popping some headphones on to play music around the hustle and bustle of the cafe. It’s strange I know, but I find that I can write a lot more in this environment rather than any other… and believe me, I have tried.
When writing or reading I can’t listen to songs that I have heard before. I love to sing to the ones I know which usually means I then start scrolling through Spotify to find songs I can sing and then belting them out, (I try not to break into song and dance in the middle of coffee shops no matter how much I want to.) I much rather listening to mellow music. My favourites are actually in the form of playlists created by Alexrainbird Music, they are amazing at creating Indie/folk playlists for every month, season and even for days when you just want a certain music to help clear your mind. The playlists are compiled of artists and groups that I wouldn’t generally listen to, due to not finding them in Spotify playlists, but the more I listen the more I absolutely love them. I can always guarantee that the songs completely chill me out and just allow my mind to release the words I want to write.

I hardly feel as relaxed as I do when I am writing. If I try to relax at home I always have the niggling itch at the back of my mind telling me I have other things to do. I love being in a neutral place, distraction free, doing the thing I love. I would highly recommend the playlists by Alexrainbird. I would also recommend music by artist such as Lucy May Walker, who two of my lovely friends introduced me too, she writes beautiful music and sings like a songbird, also The Cat Empire who my partner introduced me too, safe to say I have fallen in love with the ska band who we play to make ourselves happy again, among other artists with an indie or acoustic vibe. You can find quite a few on several Spotify playlists, if you know where to look.

I do have to stop myself sometimes as I tend to start swaying to music when I am concentrating. But hey, let people think you are crazy, because in the words of Lewis Carrol’s famous characters. ‘All the best people are.’

Do you listen to music while you write? Let me know who you like to listen to.


Disclaimer: All words are my own, this is not a collaboration. The links available are to the musicians respective Youtube channels. I do not own anything.  Just spreading the joy of music and books. 

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Mini Book Haul!

Knowing that with the impending lockdown of the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic that I would be very much inside for the foreseeable future, and having recently started a dream job at Waterstones (Gah! So happy.) I took advantage of being at work and acquired some reading material during my dinner break.

 

LETTERS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD – SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE

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So, this was the first book I grabbed. I spotted this book when it first came out a few months ago, I had been curious about it since then. It is an anthology of letters that had been written from various notable figures from Michelangelo to Charles Darwin. I find it all so interesting. Pieces of history brought to life through their own hands. The words that they had written to friends and family among other people. It’s just the perfect way to be nosy, without being nosy. The letter are handily sectioned in the contents into categories, such as love, war, friendship and family. I can’t wait to dig in and have a little history lesson every now and then.

 

THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN – A.J HACKWITH

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The next book was actually close by, I was having a look as the previous book was on a deal, so I needed another book to get it half price. Can’t beat a deal.  That is when I spotted this book. It had library written in the title, I wasn’t not going to buy it obviously. Even being one that I randomly picked, it sounded super interesting, and I honestly can’t wait to get my teeth into it.
In hell, there is a library full of unfinished books, that are watched over by Claire (a deathly name if I ever heard one) who stands guard and makes sure none of the characters escape (Excellent job!) When one does escape it will be catastrophic if Claire and a small team does not find them.
How cool does that sound. First of all, well done Claire for snagging that job. Secondly, imagine if that was read, that one of your characters could just pop up at you and start screaming at you to finish their story. I can’t wait.

 

AMERICAN DIRT – JEANINE CUMMINS 

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The last book that found it’s way into my bag (I paid for them everyone, don’t worry the books didn’t just jump into my bag when no one was watching.)
This book has literally blown up on my bookstagram feed. I feel like I see it everywhere and I am not one to follow the crowd when it comes to books, but I just had to on this occasion, as it just sounds so good.
The blurb is what really attracted me to it. It starts off so lovely. Culminating of only a few lines, the last three had me gripped and ready to read, without even looking at the first page. Quite frankly, I have to know more.

 

 

So, only three books this time. I still have so many books to read that are having a nice relaxing time in Casa de bookcase. I think I should start reading some of the ones I already have and put myself on another book ban for quite some time. Woe is me.

Have you read any of these or bought any books recently?


Related: Book Club

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The Coffee Book Tag

I had a look on Pinterest to give me some ideas on what to write as a blog post, I found so many of these book tags so I thought I would give it a bash… 

Black-  Name a series that’s tough to get into but has a hardcore following.
For me I think it would be the Game of Thrones series. I still haven’t read the first book, think I got to the third chapter. I am determined to get through them all as I want to see how different they are from the TV series. Apparently, there’s a lot more to know. So, I am excited to give them another go… soon.

Peppermint Mocha – Name a book that gets more popular during the Winter of a festive time of year. 
I could say so many books for this one, The Nutcracker, The Grinch who stole Christmas, but for me, the book that I constantly think about in the Autumn and Winter months is Little Women. Don’t ask me why! I just love the cosy feeling I get when I hold the book. It just reminds me of jumpers and sitting by the fire all nice a curled up in a blanket.

Hot Chocolate – What is you favourite children’s book?
There are so many! This is hard… I think it would have to be The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Oh how I loved that book! I still do, it was my go to library book when I was in primary school. It should definitely be on every recommended book list for all children.

Double shot of Espresso – Name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
Definitely has to be Empire of Storms. The fourth book in the Throne of Glass series. My god! I was screaming by the end. I almost didn’t want to read Tower of Dawn because I just wanted to know what happened. (I did read Tower of Dawn, and I am glad I did)

Starbucks – Name a book that you see everywhere.
This is hard… As I now work in a bookshop (HOORAY!!) I would say the Harry Potter series, and rightly so, everyone should read them to just experience the world that we have longed for in the UK. It is everywhere, in book shop windows to having an entire bookcase in shops full of the different editions and merchandise.

That Hipster Coffee Shop – Give a book by an indie author a shout out.
I would like to shout out to one of my friends Stefan Mohammed who has several books out there. He is a gifted writer and performer. It’s always nice to see how he gets on and that he is still writing. We have to make time for all sorts of writers and all sorts of genres. It will be how we stay smart. 

Oops! I accidentally got Decaf – Name a book you were expecting more from.
I couldn’t say… I have yet to come across a book that I expected anything more from. 

The Perfect Blend – Name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying.
I cannot say enough good things about the Throne of Glass series. I really cannot stop reading… I am three quarters of the way through the last book and I don’t know what I am going to do with myself. It’s stressful when I want to know the ending and yet I never want it to end. However, all good things come to an end… sadly. 

Ohhh I loved doing this book tag! Let me know what you would pick 😀

TTFN
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