Time for a little bit of magic!

Dust off your Harry Potter’s, delve into the Discovery of Witches or head of into faeryland. This month’s theme is ‘Magic’

magical-book

Books are a form of magic in the way they can transport you from reality to a different place, time or universe and authors love the mystical worlds where anything that can be imagined is possible. Where will  your choice take you and what magic will you discover?

The Twists and Turns of Dystonia

September is Dystonia Awareness month so it seems fitting to review  3 books about the condition. This post originally appeared on blog Books, Tea and Snuggly Socks

When I was first diagnosed, as a bookworm, my  instinct was to find a book so I could find out more about this neurological condition. Google is great for many things but I needed words from people with the condition, to understand more and learn how to live with it. To my dismay, there were textbooks with prices beyond my bank balance but no sign of the books I craved, despite the condition being the third most common movement disorder and it affects at least  70, 000 people in the UK.  Roll on a few years I have found these.

A Twisted Fate My Life with Dystonia by Brenda Currey Lewis

A Twisted Fate

I stumbled across A Twisted Fate on Twitter and I am so glad I did. It has become one of my firm favourites in my Kindle library.

Written to spread much needed awareness of dystonia, Brenda Currey Lewis gives an honest, down to earth account of her life with generalised dystonia which began in childhood as well as a clear overview on what dystonia is.  Her story gives an insight into life with the condition and  shows how dystonia affects all parts of life including the lives of those around you. There were so many times I could relate to her experiences and I am glad my dystonia waited until I was older to surface in the 2000s. The writing style allows her strong character to come through and I imagine she would be amazing to talk to over a cup of tea.

I would recommend this easy to read, enlightening book to everyone who wants to find out more about the condition.

Diagnosis Dystonia by Tom Seaman

diagnosis dystonia pic

This was the book I wished I had found as I wobbled out of my neurologist’s room with a diagnosis. Diagnosis Dystonia covers a range of topics a newly diagnosed person needs to know, as well as information for those who have had the condition for a while. It is a book which is obviously written  with care and consideration of what the reader will need. Part memoir, describing his own journey with cervical dystonia and part guide to this condition, it delves into the physical and emotional side as well as different types, treatments, daily living and gaining support from others. Tom Seaman has written a book that gives an insight into the condition and shows ways to live with dystonia. It tells you there will be bad days but there are ways forward, to adapt and live your life. I have a rare form of dystonia (DRD) and there are parts that are not relevant but it doesn’t matter. There is something for everyone in this book. It can be read from cover to cover or dipped into when required. If I had this book when my own wobbly journey began it will look well-read with it opening naturally at certain chapters by now.

For those with the condition, it is a book of hope, determination and gives an insight into the world of dystonia so you can help yourself be your own advocate. For others, it gives you an awareness of the condition with all its ups and downs so you gain an understanding of the condition and support people may need.

Tom Seaman works hard to spread awareness via his blog

Misdiagnosed by Jean Sharon Abbott

misdiagnosed book

I have a rare form of dystonia – dopa responsive dystonia (DRD) which affects approx 1 in 2 million people. I have followed Jean Sharon Abbott on her blog Jean Sharon Abbott as she documents her life with this condition. I was excited to discover she was writing her memoir.

Misdiagnosed follows her life from childhood with the diagnosis of cerebral palsy  to when she was given the correct diagnosis of DRD. Unlike some dystonias, DRD can be treated with a drug commonly given to those with Parkinson’s disease. This small, yellow pill has the ability to transform lives. It can be the difference between  being in a wheelchair to climbing mountains. This positive book shows her strength and determination, the ups and downs of living with dystonia and appreciating the small things in life many people overlook.  It also highlights the need for awareness of dystonia so correct diagnosis can be given.

Jean Sharon Abbott’s has appeared on TV shows, written about in newspapers and magazines worldwide. Since her story has been told, others have been given the correct diagnosis so they are also living a life they never thought they would.

 

Useful links:

The Dystonia Society UK

Dystonia Medical Research Foundation

Michael J Fox Foundation

Meet the Author – Madeline Dyer

Madeline Dyer

Madeline Dyer

About Madeline Dyer

Madeline Dyer lives in the southwest of England, and holds a BA honours degree in English from the University of Exeter. She has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal, and can frequently be found exploring wild places. At least one notebook is known to follow her wherever she goes. Her debut novel, Untamed (Prizm Books, May 2015), examines a world in which anyone who has negative emotions is hunted down, and a culture where addiction is encouraged. Her second novel, Fragmented, is set to hit shelves in September 2016.

 

 

What is your favourite book?

This is such a tough question as my favourite book changes a lot, depending on what I’ve just read. At the moment, it’s probably THE ACCIDENT by C. L. Taylor—a great psychological thriller—but I also recently read Pintip Dunn’s THE DARKEST LIE (a YA thriller) and loved that. And, always near the top of my list, is THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR by Jean M. Auel.

Who is your favourite author?

Again, this is a tough one! I think I’ll have to go with either Charlotte Bronte or Richelle Mead.

Is your writing influence by the books you have read?

I’m a firm believer that all writers are influenced by the books they’ve read, whether they realise it or not, and this is definitely the case with me. In fact, Jennifer Blanchard wrote a great post all about this (http://jenniferblanchard.net/how-your-reading-material-can-influence-your-writing/) and she is definitely right: books get under our skin, and writers are influenced by what they read—just as they’re influenced by what they see around them, what they watch on TV. We, as writers, don’t exist in vacuums, and we’re constantly influenced by everything going on around us and everything we experience.

I started writing YA speculative fiction after reading books in that genre, and absolutely falling in love with the possibility that genre offers; anything can happen and I love the freedom it has.

But there are a few of books in particular that definitely made me want to be a writer, even if I would be writing in a completely different genre: Jean M. Auel’s THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR, WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte, L.A. Weatherly’s ANGEL, and Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires Series. It was reading these books that really inspired me, and I just knew I had to be a writer too.

Where is your favourite place to read or write?

I’m most productive with my writing when I’m curled up on the sofa or stretched out on my bed—I can easily manage 6,000 words on a good day, and have had quite a few 10,000+ word days recently. So, I’d say those two are my favourite places as I’m always happier after I’ve written a lot.

But for reading? Well, I love reading on the beach—even if I am heat intolerant due to dysautonomia!

When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?

I’ve been writing forever! I first began writing short stories seriously though when I was sixteen—and I had my first short story acceptance a couple of months later. I moved onto writing full-length manuscripts when I was seventeen, which was also the time when I became ill (developing several types of dysautonomia). It was my illnesses that really made me concentrate on my writing as it being a writer gave me a strong identity—I was a writer, not just a chronically ill girl. And I really hoped to make it as a full-time writer, especially after I became ill as my illnesses meant my career options were consequently rather limited.

In 2014, I was absolutely ecstatic to have four publishers offer on my fourth novel-length manuscript. And I was nineteen-years-old at the time. At the end of June 2014, I signed with Prizm Books, the YA imprint of Torquere Press, and they released my debut novel, UNTAMED, a dark dystopian, in May 2015. And then in January 2016 I signed a second contract with them for a sequel to UNTAMED; as such, FRAGMENTED is set to release on the 7th of September 2016.

If you have a genre you write, how did you begin writing in this style?

I mainly write speculative fiction (predominantly dystopian novels, science fiction and fantasy) and contemporary thrillers, for a young adult (YA) readership. At the moment, these are just the two genres (though the first category is more of an umbrella term!) that I feel compelled to write. I’m a firm believer that a writer must love what he or she writes—if we don’t, how can we expect a reader to fall in love with our world, with our characters? In such a way, I guess this could explain why my writings cover quite a large spectrum of genres, as switching between different genres helps keep me interested and so I don’t get bored with my work. My first two (published) novels are dystopians, but many of my short stories are science fiction and fantasy pieces, while the current manuscript I’m working on is a psychological thriller. I actually have only just moved into the thriller-territory quite recently, drafting my first thriller manuscript just over a year ago, but I just fell in love with the tension and suspense in this genre—and, as such, have been reading so many contemporary thrillers recently to really get to know this way of writing.

Has being chronically ill influenced your writing and changed its direction?

Being chronically ill has definitely made me more motivated and determined to succeed at being an author—and a successful one at that! My illnesses have taken away so much from me, but writing is one thing that I still can do, so I will keep writing. But I don’t think my illnesses have had an impact on what I write. Sometimes, when people hear that I’m a writer, and that I’m chronically ill, they expect that my characters will be too—and it surprises them when they’re not. But a big part of my writing is about escapism for me. My characters do all the things that I can’t, and my writing allows me to live through them.

 

untamed-2                             About UNTAMED (Untamed Series, #1)

As one of the last Untamed humans left in the world, Seven’s life has always been controlled by tight rules. Stay away from the Enhanced. Don’t question your leader. And, most importantly, never switch sides–because once you’re Enhanced there’s no going back. Even if you have become the perfect human being.

 But after a disastrous raid on an Enhanced city, Seven soon finds herself in her enemy’s power. Realizing it’s only a matter of time before she too develops a taste for the chemical augmenters responsible for the erosion of humanity, Seven knows she must act quickly if she’s to escape and save her family from the same fate.

 Yet, as one of the most powerful Seers that the Untamed and Enhanced have ever known, Seven quickly discovers that she alone holds the key to the survival of only one race. But things aren’t clear-cut anymore, and with Seven now questioning the very beliefs she was raised on, she knows she has an important choice to make. One that has two very different outcomes.

 Seven must choose wisely whose side she joins, for the War of Humanity is underway, and Death never takes kindly to traitors.

Buy UNTAMED: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Untamed-Madeline-Dyer-ebook/dp/B00XXOBB62/

Find out more: http://madelinedyer.co.uk/fiction/untamed/

fragmented1400                About FRAGMENTED (Untamed Series, #2)

After the terrible battle against the Enhanced Ones, Seven and Corin find themselves on the run. With the Enhanced closing in, Seven knows they need to find other people on their side. So, when the opportunity arises to join the Zharat, one of the last surviving Untamed tribes, it seems like the perfect solution.

 But the Zharat lifestyle is a far cry from what Seven’s used to. With their customs dictating that she must marry into their tribe, and her relationship with Corin breaking down, Seven knows she has to do something before it’s too late. But that’s easier said than done in a tribe where going against the rules automatically results in death.

 And, with the Enhanced still out there, nowhere is truly safe for the Untamed–least of all for the most powerful Seer in the world… and Seven soon discovers how far people will go in order to ensure that she’s on their side in the War of Humanity.

 Battling against the emerging web of lies, manipulation, and danger, Seven must remember who she was meant to be. Her life has never been more at stake. Nor has humanity itself.

Pre-order FRAGMENTED: http://madelinedyer.co.uk/pre-order-fragmented-today/

Find out more: http://madelinedyer.co.uk/fiction/fragmented/

Website: http://www.madelinedyer.co.uk/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/madelinedyerauthor/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/madelinedyerUK/

Instagram: http://ww.instagram.com/madelinedyerUK/

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The Wednesday’s Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

Member book review by Mae Velazquez

Wednesday Sisters

The Wednesday’s Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

3.75-stars

Overall, I give it 3.75 out of 5; not quite the 4 simply because I wanted to give up on it for the first few chapters. I am beyond glad I did not.
It begins in the 1960’s, and is set mainly in California. Five women (Frankie, Linda, Brett, Ally and Kath) meet, while taking their kids to the park. It was their love of reading, and wondering why Brett wore white gloves (which was not fashionable according to the book), which brought them together. One thing lead to another, and they began a writing group-initially meeting together on Wednesdays. Through celebrating each others triumphs, helping with hardships, and learning each others’ secrets-they become the best of friends.
I honestly wanted to stop reading up until about the 8th chapter; simply because I just couldn’t get into it. It is written from Frankie’s point of view; with most of it written as a remembrance going forward. However, there would be moments (without warning) where it would flip to more of a reminisce sort of rambling, of looking back (versus going forward). By chapter 10, the hook was sunk and I was caught up with wanting to read it.
I loved how each of the 5 women grow individually, and as friends. I loved how you see glimpses of their secrets, but can’t truly put your finger on it until the writer reveals it. Some of the secrets are more subtile than the other, but each secret gives the character(s) more depth.
I loved how each of the 5 women grow individually, and as friends. I loved how you see glimpses of their secrets, but can’t truly put your finger on it until the writer reveals it. Some of the secrets are more subtle than the other, but each secret gives the character(s) more depth.
Overall, it is well written (with the exclusion of the sudden reminisces), and a very quick read. There is a sequel to this (The Wednesday Daughters) which I do want to find and read.
To find out more visit Author’s site
Have you read this book, what did you think?

A year old!

 

I can’t believe our 1st birthday has been and gone last month, July. It doesn’t seem that long ago 3 of us shared our thoughts on how a cyber book club could work. Some ideas worked and remain in place, others were changed either by accident or design while some failed no matter how much we wanted them to succeed. Time zones, the need to sleep and spoon shortages were some hurdles  we couldn’t  change.

Happy birhday unsplash

Our first birthday!

We have read many books, some good and some not so,  and gained new members which means more book lovers to talk too, more books to discuss and more friends to be made. Thank you all who have joined in and made this idea a reality.

Watch this space this month for our members book reviews and our first Meet the Author post.

This month we are delving into the  genre of short stories or novellas with the theme “Short and Sweet”.These are perfect for brain fog days and can be overlooked. What would you read?

As the  year is galloping a head we are also brainstorming ideas for next year’s themes. What would you like to see?

Until next time happy reading.

 

Upcoming Themes and Book Club Party Dates

August          25th August

Short and Sweet

September   30th September

Magical

October  28th October

Weird
If you would like to join our book club for Spoonies click here

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Problem with being a Spoonie Bookworm #1 – Brain fog

Before my brain went wobbly I could easily read several novels a week and that was whilst  working. They ranged from page-turning bestsellers  to long complicated epics. As long as it had words in it, I would read it. Fast forward a few years of chronic illness and the accompanying medication, those days are gone. I may have more time on my hands but my consumption  of reading material has reduced significantly.The main reason is brain fog and fatigue.

When either or both descend reading any book which is  complicated, long with many characters or twists and turns is put to one side. I lose the thread of the stories as I fall asleep or wading through the treacle of my brain to  is too much of a battle.

Usually at this point, I fall back to well read favourites where I already know the convoluted plots   or easy to read, quick page-turning Chick lit. After reading several  of these in the bounce I was bored with the girl meets boy scenarios but wasn’t sure what else to read.

I was relieved when a fellow member of  Duvet Dwellers Book Club recommended Samantha Moon: Vampire for Hire series by J.R Rain. Once downloaded using the timely offer 30 days free Kindle Unlimited offer Amazon had sent me, I began to read.

Moon

The book follows Samantha  Moon – private investigator, mum and vampire. I wasn’t sure how it would all fit together but it works well and I was hooked. it is easy reading with a twist to keep you interested with crime chasing, family saga, paranormal and hint of romance. What more do you need? The characters have enough of a backstory to add depth to what could have come across as one-dimensional. Sam is likeable, quirky and no pushover even without her vampiric tendencies. You long to find out how the relationships  around her will develop as the consequences  of being a vampire hit home.

I read the first book Moon Dance in one duvet day. I not only enjoyed it but I felt a sense of achievement and a hint of the old me. I am now reading Vampire Moon  and enjoying even more. I am  wondering where the next  7 will take me.

It vaguely reminds me of the TV series Blood Ties I binge-watched while I was having chemo. The difference being in this, the PI was human fighting crime with the help of a vampire, the opposite to this book. It ahs the same feel and desire to read/watch just a little bit more.

Highly recommended  if you need something to satisfy the bookworm in you without bamboozling your mind on low energy days.

What do you read when you have brain fog?

Originally written for wobblypip.wordpress.com

Celebrating the little things

A new month so it is time for a new theme. Not all books have to be epics and delights can be found in short stories, novellas and quick reads. It is time to choose something ‘Short and Sweet’- all genres and formats count. Maybe you can challenge yourself to see how many short stories you can read.

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Do you have any recommendations?

Book club party will be held on 26th August 2016 9am GMT  wherever you are, but you can pop in whenever you are free.

Happy reading!

To join our growing Book Club for Spoonies click here

 

The ever increasing to read pile

hello june sunflower

All bookworms have them whether it is on a bookshelf, pile next to the bed or hidden in the Kindle library – a to-read pile. This collection of books rarely decreases but increases easily. For every book read, two replace it because favourite authors bring out new ones, the charity shop has the bestseller you never got round to reading or a debut catches your eye in the library. With the advent of Kindle along with its daily deals, it is even worse. A click of a button and another one materializes without leaving your bed. With this is mind, this month’s theme is to read ‘Something you already own’. Forgotten books hidden amongst others or the next one in the queue we are busy reading them for next weeks Book Club Party on Friday 24th June.

Facebook Page

As well as our Duvet Dweller Book Club on Facebook where we regularly meet, we now have a Duvet Dweller Book Club Extra page to like, share and read for all bookworms whether they are members or not. We will give updates on the group, blog but will also use this space to share books by Spoonie authors.

Coming soon on this blog

Book reviews  by book club members and an opportunity to read about current or upcoming books of all genres from authors who live with chronic conditions in Meet the Author.

Watch this space!

Until then happy reading

 

 

From Love to the magical world of childhood

heart free unsplash

February, the month of love was recognised by the ‘self care’ theme, after all in the world of chronic illness looking after yourself is essential.  The theme was open to include general self-care and finding more about your condition so a range of books were discussed including Diagnosis Dystonia and The Drama Free Way of Life.

 C.S Lewis quote children's books

 

We revisited childhood in March, in honour of colourful and delightful  World Book Day where children and adults dress up as their favourite characters to celebrate the joy of books.   The book could have been your favourite dog-eared book you grabbed repeatedly of the shelf (or kept close under your pillow) or a book you always wanted to read. There is a wealth of enchanting books to choose from, including the classics from Roald Dahl, Frances Hodgson Burnett and J K Rowling.  Children’s stories can be magical, inspiring or heartbreaking such as one my old favourites ‘Goodnight, Mr Tom’. There are so many, it was difficult to decide because a title is mentioned and  memories of childhood reading flood back – favourite reading places, library or book shop visits or  friends. Not only do you relive the story and catch up with long forgotten characters, you also capture snatches of time as memories of the when you last read the book resurface. It is a theme that should be have a sequel or two.

 This theme should also come with a warning – your to-read list grows exponentially as you brainstorm books you have read and want to read again
Still looking back in time

 

From revisiting old favourites, April’s theme is all about reading someone else’s history in the form memoirs and biographies. Any person can be chosen, from any period of time. Maybe it is someone you admire, intrigued by or they lived through an experience you either relate to or want to know more about, the choice is yours.  This is a genre I do not normally read so I am looking forward to giving it a go as well as catching up on everyone else’s finds.

What will be on your next book be?

Happy reading until next time.

 Future Book Club Dates
April – Biography or Memoir – 29th April
May – A book with a colour in the title – 27th May
June – A book you already own – 24th June
To join our book club click here for a warm welcome

First ever Newsletter

reading blanket free stocksnap

 

Welcome to our book clubs first ever newsletter!

Thank you all for being part of Duvet Dwellers Book Club and sharing all your thoughts, ideas and love of books since we began in July. Reading is an excellent past time when you have a chronic condition as it can be done anywhere, in bed, garden, bus or even a doctor’s waiting room. Books can take you different countries and world’s without leaving your room and introduce you to characters who share their lives with you for those short/long pages. Reading is even better when you can share your experiences with others and explore books/topics you have never seen or heard of so it has been wonderful to meet and chat to you.

Looking back, we have covered many themes from inspiration to Christmas and lots of books have been recommended along the way. These have ranged from tales of witches to the first man to the moon. I don’t know about you my to-read list has expanded exponentially and I need to find a way to slow down time to read them all. A page has been added with all the books we have read this year so feel free to browse for that book which jumped out at you when it was talked about.

As 2016 begins so does our new monthly themes starting with ‘Something New or New Beginnings’. So browse your shelves, bookstore or library and choose a book and join in with our bookclub party at the end of month.

Remember this party can be done anywhere there is internet access and you can drop in at anytime.

PJs and slippers are suitable attire and naps are allowed.

The only requirement is you and your book.

slippers snuggly

The upcoming themes*  for the first quarter of the year are:

January

Something New or New Beginnings!

February

Self-Care.

March

Childhood classic.

*More details can be found here

Book Club Party Dates

Friday 29th January

Friday 26th February

Friday 25th March

firework new year

We hope you have a wonderful 2016 and it is full of books !

Feel free to share this newsletter to fellow Spoonies who love books – as the group grows so do the discussions and love of reading!

To join us click here for a warm welcome