Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher

Image Description: the book-cover Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher. In the background is a light-pattern that resembles the Aurora borealis, in the foreground is a plastic doll of Princess Leia with the palms of her hands covering her eyes.
Imsge Description: the book-cover Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher. In the background is a light-pattern that resembles the Aurora borealis, in the foreground is a plastic doll of Princess Leia with the palms of her hands covering her eyes.
Title: Shockaholic
Author: Carrie Fisher
Social Media: Twitter and Goodreads
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Format and Price: Ebook at $11.99
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Book:
Bad news… for anyone who thought Carrie Fisher had finally stopped talking about herself. This time, the electro-convulsive shock therapy she’s been undergoing is threatening to wipe out (what’s left of) her memory. But get ready for a shock of your own. Not only doesn’t she mind paying the second electric bill, she loves the high-voltage treatments. It’s been a roller coaster of a few years for Carrie since her Tony- and Emmy-nominated, one-woman Broadway show and New York Times bestselling book Wishful Drinking. She not only lost her beloved father, but also her once-upon-a-very-brief-time stepmother, Elizabeth Taylor, as well as over forty pounds of unwanted flesh, all the while staying sober and sane-ish. And she wants to tell you, dear reader, all about it. She wants you to someday be able to remind her how Elizabeth Taylor settles a score, how she and Michael Jackson became friends, or how she ended up sparring with Ted Kennedy on a dinner date. And she especially wants to preserve her memories of Eddie Fisher. Shockaholic is laugh-out-loud funny, acerbic, and witty as hell. But it also reveals a new side of Carrie Fisher that may even bring a pleasant shock your way: it is contemplative, vulnerable, and ultimately, quite tender.

General Observations:
~Diverse Books 2017: Alongside Wishful Drinking, I’m nominating this book for the “Main character with an Invisible Disability” category. In this memoir, Carrie Fisher talks about her struggles with addiction, which is connected to her adult-diagnosis of Bi-polar. It was comforting to read about Carrie Fisher’s struggles because, in a way, they were familiar and foreign at at the same time. We need more people like Carrie Fisher in the world, more people who are willing and able to talk about their struggles with mental health because the more we talk about our struggles, the more accessible they become, and gradually our collective stories will destroy the stigma of mental health.

~Expansion Pack: Wishful Drinking kind of gives a basic overview of things, Shockaholic goes into more details on some of the significant events in Carrie Fisher’s life, like waking up next to her white-republican-gay-friend and the sequential drug-addiction problems and, unfortunately, when it comes to addiction, sometimes you have to get to really bad place before you realise something needs to change. Fortunately Carrie Fisher was able to get the help she needed and it eventually lead her to pursue Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and hence the name of the title. Carrie Fisher also uses her book to dispel some of the myths surrounding Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), acknowledging her own previous bias towards it, but she also talks about some of the side-effects as well, such as problems with short term memory.

~Right In The Feels: Her chapters that feature her friendship with Michael Jackson and her relationship with her previous step-mother Elizabeth Taylor were amusing, interesting and insightful, however, it was the chapters that focused on her relationship with her father Eddie Fisher (who she cared for in his later years until he died) was the one that had me tearing up. It was bitter-sweet that Carrie and Eddie were able to reconnect and have the relationship Carrie always wanted with her father later in life. There’s an especially touching moment in the book when Carrie starts talking about how she has a recording of her father singing preserved in her phone, that way she’ll always be able to remember.

In conclusion, just go read it, it’s highly entertaining and you’ll whizz straight through it (I certainly did).

Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book
Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Image Description: the book-cover of Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
Title: Wishful Drinking
Author: Carrie Fisher
Social Media: Twitter and Goodreads
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Format and Price: Ebook at $13.99
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Author:
Carrie Frances Fisher (1956 – 2016) was an American actress, screenwriter and novelist, most famous for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy.

About The Book:
In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. “But it isn’t all sweetness and light sabres.” Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression and lounging around various mental institutions. It’s an incredible tale – from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

General Observations:
~Diverse Books 2017: I’m nominating this book for the “Main character with an Invisable Disability” category. In this memoir, Carrie Fisher talks about her struggles with addiction, which is connected to her adult-diagnosis of Bi-polar. It was comforting to read about Carrie Fisher’s struggles because, in a way, they were familiar and foreign at at the same time. We need more people like Carrie Fisher in the world, more people who are willing and able to talk about their struggles with mental health because the more we talk about our struggles, the more accessible they become, and gradually our collective stories will destroy the stigma of mental health.

~Short and Sweet: The paperback and the ebook version are only 176 pages, I found myself consuming this book rather quickly, which should say something as I’ve been in a reading slump recently and have seriously struggled with motivation to read. I consider Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic to be parts 1 and 2 respectively, they’re both short books (both are 176 pages, which is about the same size as a standard manga volume), and if you liked part 1 but don’t want to continue, that’s okay. But if you want more details on some of the events and experiences that Carrie Fisher brings up in Wishful Drinking, you can continue with Shocaholic, it’s entirely up to you.

~Make ‘Em Laugh: Carrie Fisher had such an amazing sense of humor, I love and truly admire how she could take such pain and misery, and turn it into something worth laughing about.

All in all, it’s a great short read about struggling with mental health and addiction and I think the world can never have too many books like this.

Image Description: an illustrated picture of Carrie Fisher as General Organa (from The Force Awakens) standing on the deck of a space-ship with the cosmos and various planets and galactic-bodies in the background. In the corner of the picture is plain black text that reads
Image Description: an illustrated picture of Carrie Fisher as General Organa (from The Force Awakens) standing on the deck of a space-ship with the cosmos and various planets and galactic-bodies in the background. In the corner of the picture is plain black text that reads “drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. Carrie Fisher, 1956 – 2016”.

Available for purchase at: Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book
Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book

The Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017: The Devil Is In The Details

Image Description: a title page with the words Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017: The Devil Is In The Details in rainbow coloured word-art with four red roses in each corner Image Description: a title page with the words Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017: The Devil Is In The Details in rainbow coloured word-art with four red roses in each corner

One of my biggest struggles with academia was that my essays were perfectly clear to me, the reasoning and structure of the article was obvious. It turns out, this is usually never the case, it usually always turns out to be that that my essays only make sense to me. So, my apologies if my previous instructions seemed confusing and difficult to follow.

I have a great love for the movie Nightmare Before Christmas and I also have a strong emotional connection to Jack Skellington: a being with the enthusiasm of a thousand passionate actors but the common sense of a wet cabbage. I’m so eager to begin a project, I forget the finer details required. This post will hopefully flesh out the Terms and Conditions in greater detail, however, please contact me if there is any need for further clarification.

How To Review

In order to meet the Minimum Standard of Review, participants need to include the following:
-A star rating from DNF (did not finish), 1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars and 5 stars.
-One aspect of the book the reader liked
-One aspect of the book the reader didn’t like or thought could be improved
-Answer the question of “Would you recommend this book to others?”

In order to meet the Maximum Standard of Review
-A star rating from DNF (did not finish), 1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars and 5 stars.
-Three aspects of the book the reader liked
-Three aspects of the book the reader didn’t like or thought could be improved
– Answer the question of “Would you recommend this book to others?”

Pictures and gifs can be used in place of words in a review. Participants can also make video reviews and just talk about the book (maximum video length 10 minutes or under), participants will have to provide a hyperlink to the video. Participants can also make audio recordings of their review (maximum audio track length of 10 minutes or under), participants will have to provide a hyperlink to the audio-recording. If participants have an alternative method of reviewing that I have not mentioned, please feel free to contact me and discuss this alternative method with me. My email is brkyle(dot)author(at)gmail(dot)com

The participant then publishes the review either on their social media platform of choice or goodreads.com, they will then click on the little blue-frog icon below

The blue frog will lead to a separate page where participants will be able to add their link to their review.

Books

Any physical format is acceptable, any format of electronic books (for example: epub, pdf, mobi) is acceptable, the main objective here is to connect the potential reader with the author, so if the review is positive and you want to recommend the book to others, you need to leave a hyperlink that allows people to access the book.

When it comes to purchasing physical books, I tend to recommend purchasing via through Book Depository because they offer free delivery to Australia, but I understand that this might not work for everyone, especially for Indie Authors. Kim raised valid points about accessibility and as along as the potential reader can access the book, that’s what counts.

Due to the complexity surrounding Fanfiction, I will have to exclude Fanfiction as reading material for this giveaway (perhaps I will reconsider this for the next giveaway, but not for this one).

What kind of Disability theme/structure am I looking for in a book?

My personal approach to reading Diverse Books is to look at the genre of the book first, then I consider the Diversity element. I don’t want to read books just for the sake of Diversity, if I do that, I’m going to struggle and argue with myself (“I must finish this book, it has diverse characters in it!” “But it’s so boring!”). I like Diversity Books that have the main characters doing things other protagonists do. Disabled people are just like everyone else and the narrative should reflect that.

Kim also offered some good advice:
“I’d actually look at determining what is and isn’t disability fiction via protagonist: if it features a narrating protagonist disabled in some way, it counts. If if doesn’t and is therefore about The Abled Person’s experience, no. Of course, you’ll get stuff that isn’t written by folk with disabilities and is written awfully – *cough*Garth Nix*cough* but the job of a reviewer is to read that and mark it so others don’t, not to read only great representation.”

So, how I verify that I’m reading a book about Disability that meets that criteria?

Well I’m not sure if I can answer that in a definitive way. Unfortunately it’s difficult to determine what type of disability a book is about (Side Note To Authors: Mention the disability you’re writing about directly in the blurb, I’ve had to spend a considerable amount of time reading through reviews to determine which disability a book is about, I shouldn’t have to do that) let alone make sure a disabled person is the main protagonist.

To be honest, I think that the most I can do is make a list of books, list what type of Disability is featured and let people decide if they’re interested or not. I’ve done some researching and I found out that Corinne Duyvis (one of the founders of Disability in Kidlit) has a Goodreads account and a Bookshelf dedicated to books with Disabled Main Characters:

~Corinne Duyvis’s Bookshelf: Disabled Main Characters

So, I used this bookshelf, as well as some recommendations from other book blogs, to make these two Goodreads Bookshelves:

~B.R. Kyle’s Bookshelf: Disability

~B.R. Kyle’s Bookshelf: Mental Health

Now, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to verify all of the books on the Bookshelves via Disability in Kidlit’s reviews and honor roll and I also haven’t read a lot of them myself. There is also a lot of the books on the bookshelf that are classified as belonging to the Young Adult genre, which might not suit everyone, so I’ve tried to balance out the Young Adult novels with Adult Memoirs, but there’s not much else I can do.

Please check out the links and see if those books work for you, but it’s okay if they don’t or you already have your own book list organised. I’ve spent the majority of today and yesterday working a list of books about disability that have been given the Disability in Kidlit Seal of Approval (if people would like to make suggestions, please do so in the comments section below):

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Category: Disability and Own voices
Disability in Kidlit Review

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
Category: Disability (amputee) and POC main character
Disability in Kidlit Review

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Category: Disability and Own voices
Disability in Kidlit Review

On The Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
Category: Disability and Own voices
Disability in Kidlit Review

Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Category: Disability (Chronic pain and mobility issues) and GSM
Disability in Kidlit Review

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Category: Disability (cancer) and mental illness
Disability in Kidlit Review

What I Couldn’t Tell You by Faye Bird
Category: Disability (selective mutism)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
Category: Disability (cerebral palsy),
Disability in Kidlit Review

The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell
Category: Disability (One MC is recovering from Polio)
Disability in Kidlit

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez
Category: Mental Health (Depression and Suicide)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank
Category: Disability and Mental health
Disability in Kidlit Review

Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane
Category: Disability (Autistic MC)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson
Category: Disability and Mental health (OCD)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John
Category: Disability (Deaf MC)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Blind Spot by Laura Ellen
Category: Disability (Blindness) and Own Voices
Finding Yourself in a Book: Why I Wrote Blind Spot by Laura Ellen

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle
Category: Disability (Autistic MC)
Disability in Kidlit Review

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Category: Disability and mental health (OCD and Social Anxiety)
Disability in Kidlit Review

When We Collided by Emery Lord
Category: Disability and Mental health (Bi-polar)
Disability in Kidlit Review

Autism Goes to School by Sharon A. Mitchell
Category: Disability (Autistic characters)
L.C. Reviews: Autism Goes to School (YouTube video)

Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017 – Disability Booklist (PDF)

Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017 – Disability Booklist (Word Document)

I know that’s probably considered a short list, but I figured it was a good starting point, these are meant to be guidelines and I don’t want to overwhelm people. I also don’t want to start going into “English teacher territory” of telling people what they should and shouldn’t read, however, these are reviews written by disabled people, with disabled people talking about books written about their specific disability, and I think their judgement of what constitutes as acceptable representation is the standard the publishing industry needs to aiming for.

The Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017: Prizes

Image Description: a title photo with the words Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017: Prizes displayed in rainbow-coloured text with four red roses in each corner of the picture

Image Description: a title photo with the words Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017: Prizes displayed in rainbow-coloured text with four red roses in each corner of the picture

List of Possible Prizes:

Image Description: from left to right, a Blue bubble-wand, a Green bubble-wand and a Pink bubble-wand

Image Description: from left to right, a Blue bubble-wand, a Green bubble-wand and a Pink bubble-wand

1 x Bubble Wand (1 x Pink, 1 x Green and 1 x Blue)

Unfortunately due to the to the nature of Australia Post, I’m going to have to bubble-wrap the ever-loving fuck out of these items (Yay! An Excuse to buy excessive amounts of Bubble Wrap), but its better than the alternative.

Image Description: from left to right, a blue and red zip-lanyard and a yellow and red zip-lanyard

Image Description: from left to right, a blue and red zip-lanyard and a yellow and red zip-lanyard

1 x Zip Lanyard with large beaded-circle (1 x Blue and Red, 1 x Red and Yellow, 1 x Pink and Green)

I bought these from Daiso and I have yet to obtain the pink and green one, however, this can be easily fixed. The end result will hopefully look something like this. I’m not sure if I’ll use wooden beads, I’ll probably just use the ones I’ve already got, but I do have some large star beads with a metallic sheen to them (I got them from Lincraft), but I’ll see how I go.

Image Description: from left to right, a green-purple-red-yellow transparent Tangle Jr and a various-shades-of-purple Tangle Jr

Image Description: from left to right, a green-purple-red-yellow transparent Tangle Jr and a various-shades-of-purple Tangle Jr

1 x Tangles Jr each (1 x Red/Pink tangle, 1 x Blue Tangle, 1 x Green Tangle)

Kim went above and beyond the call of duty and was able to travel to both of their local Toyworld Stores and obtain more Tangles on my behalf (here’s a link to their post). Tangle Jr (or any type of Tangles really) are super difficult to obtain in Australia, so I figured from the very beginning I had to involve a Tangle Jr in my giveaway.

Image Description: three black and white snake puzzles from K-Mart

Image Description: three black and white snake puzzles from K-Mart

1 x Black and White Snake Puzzle

I was hoping to get my hands on the Stationery Gift-Bags at K-Mart, which contain bigger snake puzzles, but unfortunately my local K-Mart sold out of them. It also means I’ll have to put all the Stim Toys in a Daiso Shoe Bag instead (picture below).

Image Description: from left to right, a small pale-pink bag with flowers and bunnies printed on it. Next to the pale-pink bag is a dark-pink with multicoloured hearts printed on it

Image Description: from left to right, a small pale-pink bag with flowers and bunnies printed on it. Next to the pale-pink bag is a dark-pink with multicoloured hearts printed on it

Image Description: three large Kids &Co. multi-coloured large bouncy balls

Image Description: three large Kids & Co. multi-coloured large bouncy balls

1 x Kids & Co. multi-coloured large bouncy ball

Kim bought me one of these for Christmas and I love it, it’s roughly the size of my palm, which makes it easier to catch and bounce in comparison to my smaller bouncy-balls. It’s bright colours makes it easier to focus on and it turns out problems with fine motor skills are a Neurodivergent thing, so I figured it should be included.

Image Description: A pale white hand holding a pale-pink squishable strawberry. Around the wrist are three telephone-cord hair-ties, a pink one, an orange one and a yellow one.

Image Description: A pale white hand holding a pale-pink squishable strawberry. Around the wrist are three telephone-cord hair-ties, a pink one, an orange one and a yellow one.

1 x Squishy Strawberry each

For some reason, this Squishable Strawberry has kind of become my thing, I even have a strawberry mascot for my blog.

Image Description: A cushion in the shape of a pale-pink strawberry with a cute smiley face and gold-coloured seeds

Image Description: A cushion in the shape of a pale-pink strawberry with a cute smiley face and gold-coloured seeds.

I’ve done a review of these as Stim Toys and, just like the Tangles, I felt as though these Strawberries should be included in the giveaway (you can purchase these items from Ebay and Banggood). To my knowledge, the colour selection is random, so I won’t know what colour they will be until they arrive, however, knowing my luck it’s most likely that all the Strawberries will be dark pink.

Image Description: a long beaded-lanyard made with dark-blue rat-tail cord with a chrome key-ring/split-ring and lobster-claw clasp connected at the end. The beads are a rainbow spectrum of colours with three different types of beads per colour (acrylic-pearl-glitter). The colour spectrum is pink, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple with an orange bead at the end as a stopper

Image Description: a long beaded-lanyard made with dark-blue rat-tail cord with a chrome key-ring/split-ring and lobster-claw clasp connected at the end. The beads are a rainbow spectrum of colours with three different types of beads per colour (acrylic-pearl-glitter). The colour spectrum is pink, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple with an orange bead at the end as a stopper.

Image Description: a short beaded-lanyard make of pink rat-tail cord with a bronze-coloured key-ring/split ring and lobster-claw clasp at the end. The beads are a rainbow spectrum of acrylic beads with a pale-pink heart-shaped bead as a stopper. The colour spectrum is hot-pink, pale-pink, red, orange, yellow, green, dark-blue, light-blue, purple

Image Description: a short beaded-lanyard make of pink rat-tail cord with a bronze-coloured key-ring/split ring and lobster-claw clasp at the end. The beads are a rainbow spectrum of acrylic beads with a pale-pink heart-shaped bead as a stopper. The colour spectrum is hot-pink, pale-pink, red, orange, yellow, green, dark-blue, light-blue, purple

2 x Beaded lanyards (one long, one short)

Now, the beaded lanyards pictured above are ones that Kim has made for me, so mine probably won’t be as good as I’m just starting out, however, I have ordered the various required items from Ebay, so hopefully by the end of March, all the prizes will be completed and ready to ship out. I’m planning on the long beaded lanyard being rainbow themed, like this:

Image Description: a long beaded lanyard mad of black elastic with a rainbow spectrum of beads. The beads are a pattern of three different types of beads. The first one is acrylic, the second one pearlized and the third is transparent. The colour sequence is white, pale-pink, hot-pink, orange, yellow, green, light-blue, dark-blue and purple.

Image Description: a long beaded lanyard made of black elastic with a rainbow spectrum of beads. The beads are a pattern of three different types of beads. The first one is acrylic, the second one pearlized and the third is transparent. The colour sequence is white, pale-pink, hot-pink, orange, yellow, green, light-blue, dark-blue and purple.

I would also like add that if a winner of the giveaway would prefer a pride-themed long beaded lanyard instead, that can be accomplished. The winner would have to tell me which pride style they would like and it also might take a little longer for the package to be shipped out, but that’s a small detail. At this point in time, I almost have a full rainbow in terms of colour and type, but the two gaps I have will soon be remedied.

Image Description: two necklaces with white cord, four chrome-coloured small loops and a key ring with beads on them, from left to right, the first necklace has green-yellow-pink-blue-pink-yellow-green coloured beads. The second necklace has white-orange-yellow-orange-white coloured beads

Image Description: two necklaces with white cord, four chrome-coloured small loops and a key ring with beads on them, from left to right, the first necklace has green-yellow-pink-blue-pink-yellow-green coloured beads. The second necklace has white-orange-yellow-orange-white coloured beads

2 x Bead Ring Necklaces (one long necklace made with black rat-tail cord, one short bead ring necklace made with rainbow string)

Now, Kim made these ones for me as a Christmas Present, so my ones won’t be the exact same colours, but hopefully it’ll be the same sort of style. I’ll go into more details about this in another post (I’ve also included a link on how to make these in the links section below), but I found out that while I couldn’t use the rainbow string to make beaded lanyard, however, it might be possible to use the rainbow string as short Bead ring necklaces, I’ll make a separate post dedicated to making stuff with beads, although I would like to point out I’m a complete noob at these things.

Image Description: three gel ice packs, one orange pack and two blue-green packs

Image Description: three gel ice packs, one orange pack and two blue-green packs

1 x Gel Ice Package each

This one was a bit of a last minute addition, perhaps to make up for the fact that I ordered a couple of pencil-cases off Ebay and it turns out they’re scented items.

Image Description: there are two pencil-cases in the picture, from left to right, the first one is a pink Smencil Buddies - Rainbow Sherbet Pencil Case and the other is a green Smencil Buddies - Watermelon Pencil Case

Image Description: there are two pencil-cases in the picture, from left to right, the first one is a pink Smencil Buddies – Rainbow Sherbet Pencil Case and the other is a green Smencil Buddies – Watermelon Pencil Case

While I don’t have a problem with the way the pencil-cases smell, in fact I think they smell delicious, however, I’m trying to avoid scented items and slime for this giveaway (there are far too many variables involved in scented-items and slime).

So Yeah… Those are my potential prizes on offer for my Disability Give-away, pretty cool eh? Tell me what you think in the comments section below, also feel free to tell me what your favourite type of stim toy is :).

Links:
Stim Toy Box: Gel Ice Package

Stim Toy Box: An Ambiguous Quest For Tangles

Practically Safe: Beaded Lanyard Tutorial

Stim Toy Box: Chain Tassel Bag Charms

Stim Toy Box: Snake Puzzles

Stim Toy Box: Blue Gift Set Stationery Set

Stim Toy Box: Squishy Strawberry

Abstruse Arcana ~ Turtorial: Bead Ring Necklace

The Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017: Disability Read and Review Give-away

Image Description: A title picture with the text 'Diverse Books Reading Challenge: Disability R&R Giveaway' in large rainbow text with clip-art pictures of strawberries and roses in the corners of the picture
Image Description: A title picture with the text ‘Diverse Books Reading Challenge: Disability R&R Giveaway’ in large rainbow test with clip-art pictures of strawberries and roses in the corners of the picture
Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text 'Read Diverse Books 2017' in white text with the word 'Diverse' written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book
Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book

What’s This All About?
Read Diverse Books is running a Diverse Books Reading Challenge. Chasing Faerytails and Read.Sleep.Repeat decided to embrace the Reading Diverse Books challenge but also create a monthly theme. The theme for March is Disability and I wanted to host a give-away and award a prize to the top three people who manage to Read AND Review the most books that come under the Disability category

Who is eligible to participate in the give-away?
Unfortunately, due to the absurd shipping and handling fees, only those who live in Australia and New Zealand will be eligible for this competition (sorry about that).

Are there Prizes?
Well yes; it wouldn’t be much of a give-away without them. There will be a first, second and third prize for the top three people who manage to Read and Review as many books as possible within the month of March (so midnight 1st of March until 23:55 pm on the 31st of March)

What kind of prize will you be offering?
The prize will be a package of assorted Stim Toys (I’ll make a separate more detailed post about this later). The prizes will be theme orientated, for example: there will be a package of red stim toys, blue stim toys and green stim toys. At the end of March, I’ll contact the winners and notify them and get them to pick which colour-theme they’d prefer.

How or Where can I find Books about Disability?
Disability In Kidlit have put together a list of recommended reading, here’s the link for it:
Disability In Kidlit – Honor Roll
Chasing Faerytails and Read.Sleep.Repeat have put together an awesome book list as well, here’s the link for it:
Chasing Faerytails & Read.Sleep.Repeat: Diverse Reads 2017 Reading List

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon: Disability In Kidlit has published a review on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (here’s the link to the book review) and due to the problematic nature of the book, I will be excluding this book from the competition. Should anyone ignore/defy this and post a link to their review on my give-away page, the link will be removed and they will be disqualified from the competition.

Shout-Out:
Kim is busy doing their own thing, but they were a big inspiration and assistance for this project, so I just wanted to send out a big thank you, readers should check out their links

Let The Reading Begin 😀

Links:
Disability In Kidlit
Read Diverse 2017 – A Reading And Book Review Challenge For Bloggers!
Chasing Faerytails – Announcing the 2017 Diverse Books Reading Challenge!

Havering: End of Year Survey for 2016

Image Description: a black and white photo of a pile of books with a pair of glasses on top
Number Of Books You Read: 16 out of 20
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From: IDK, my list for this year is a bit all over the shop

Best Books of 2016:
1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
Unfortunately, I don’t have a book I can place above all the other books, this year was a little chaotic for me.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Image Description: book cover of Beneath A Darkening Moon by Keri Arthur
Beneath A Darkening Moon by Keri Arthur – I didn’t have high expectations going into the book but there were some really questionable elements involved I hadn’t anticipated and I was left quite disappointed with the way the Unfortunate Implications were handled, or rather weren’t handled.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Image Description: book cover of In The Woods by Tana French
In The Woods by Tana French – I had gone into this book with high expectations, Tana French was highly recommended to me, but the first book in the series was surprisingly meh and I felt the ending was a bit of a cope-out, but as Tana French is a best-selling author, I’m guessing that’s just me.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Image Description: book cover of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – I bought this for my younger sister (although it was a copy of the book with the movie-version as the cover, which I truly detest, but moving on), she seemed genuinely interested in it and I figured the movie was something she and my father could watch together (my father is major history enthusiast).
Image Description: book cover of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – I got this for my younger brother for Christmas last year and he began to read it immediately, which is unusual because my younger brother isn’t a big reader, I also got him a copy of Gemina for this Christmas.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
Image Description: book cover of Every Breath by Ellie Marney
The Every Series by Ellie Marney – I’m looking forward to reading this series in 2017

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
the-last-necromancer
The Ministry of Curiosities series by C.J. Archer – An Australian author writing about necromancy and steam-punk, sounds great 😀 I look forward to reading this series in 2017

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Image Description: book cover of Game Day by Miriam Sved
Game Day by Miriam Sved – I have zero interests in sports, and I don’t usually read Contemporary, but I had to read this one for a University class and it was the one I suppose I had the least mixed feelings about (despite the fact that I have little to no interest in the subject). To me, this is a book for people who are not me and need someone to highlight some of the problems that emerge from Australia’s fanatical football culture.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Image Description: book cover of Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley – fast paced narrative and engaging realistic characters with some tough emotional baggage to deal with, highly recommended.

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Image Description: book cover of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss – It’s an editing resource so I’ll probably read it again.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
Image Description: book conver of Sapphire Skies by  Belinda Alexandra
Sapphire Skies by Belinda Alexandra – The cover and the fact that it’s written by an Australian author was the primary reason I picked it up.

11. Most memorable character of 2016?
Image Description: book cover of Crooked Words by K. A. Cook
Darius from the short story Certain Eldritch Artifacts in Crooked Words by K. A. Cook – Darius is the reason I investigated this book in the first place, and it’s so great to see his character development here, in comparison to how he is in The Unnatural Philosophy of Kit March, go check it out if you’re a fan of the Fantasy genre like I am

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
Image Description: book cover of Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beloved by Toni Morrison – Although technically I haven’t finished it, Toni Morrison is one of the most poetic novel writers I’ve ever read, she possesses an amazing awe-inspiring skill with words.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
Beloved by Toni Morrison – it’s just one of those books you have to read

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
Image Description: book cover of Sweet Damage by Rebecca James
Sweet Damage by Rebecca James – I had meant to read this for ages and only got around to reading it this year

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
Unfortunately I didn’t have one outside of a few one-liners from Bossypants by Tina Fey

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Shortest: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White with 105 pages
Longest: The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson with 660 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
Probably a tie between The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood and Did She Kill Him?: A Victorian Tale of Deception, Adultery and Arsenic
by Kate Colquhoun, I just didn’t expect those books to end the way that they did.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
I don’t have one this year, but I like all the couples in Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Bossypants
Tina Fey’s relationship with her dad as described in her memoir Bossypants

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Crooked Words by K. A. Cook – I’ve read other short stories of Kim’s and enjoyed them.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Image Description: book cover ofComing of Age: Growing up Muslim in Australia by Amra Pajalic and Demet Divaroren
Probbably Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia by Amra Pajalic and Demet Divaroren – I picked this book purely because my associates from Professional Writing and Editing recommended it to me. I’ve met Amra Pajalic via my Professional Writing and Editing course and Demet Divaroren is now teaching subjects from the Professional Writing and Editing course.

22. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
Loaded
Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas – it’s an interesting story structure and it’s written without any speech tags and in a simple style, but that doesn’t mean the subject is simple, in fact, it’s very complex.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Image Description: book cover of The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood – I just didn’t like the ending of the book, although that may have been the author’s intention.

Book Blogging
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
Happy Indulgence – an Australian book-review blog

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
Probably Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
My Bruno’s Farewell post, I was so anxious about the night leading up to it and on the night (pretty much pacing around the house for an hour before Kim and their mother were due to pick me up), I was certain I would mess it up somehow and I was mildly worried Bruno wouldn’t like the post, but of course he liked it

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Again, Bruno’s Farewell Evening at The Twilight School

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
I actually managed to have some great comments and referrals on Twitter this year. Also, all of my pictures of Things Made By Kim all get liked and receive positive comments on either Facebook or Instagram, I honestly can’t ask for more than that.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Getting the balance between blogging, work and university. But hopefully this year things will be easier.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Game Day by Miriam Sved (which I find a little confusing)

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
The Editing Process of Self-Publishing – I put so much effort into that post

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
We Need Diverse Books and Disability in Kidlit

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I tried reading 20 books this year, but unfortunately I only managed to read 16. I’m involved in a few Reading Challenges like the Australian Women Writer’s challenge and the RMFAO Genre Challenge. This year I’m also going to merge the 2017 Diverse Books Campaign into my blog as well (because I clearly have too much time on my hands)

Looking Ahead To 2017
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
Image Description: book cover of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Illuminae and Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
Image Description: book cover of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
You’re Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardener – It sounds fascinating

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
I’m hoping to finish a few series this year, like the Coroman Strike series, the Every Series and the Skulduggery Pleasant series.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
I’m hoping to complete reading at least 24 books and have a rough draft of my next book ready by the end of the year

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
Image Description: book cover of History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera – Although I haven’t read this book yet

Links:
~The Perpetual Page-Turner: 7th Annual End Of Year Survey – 2016 edition!!

Ambiguous Pieces: End of Year Book Survey for 2016

Image Description: a picture of an open book with red and yellow string in the shape of a heart
Number Of Books You Read: 14
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Non-Fiction/Memoir

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
Image Description: the book cover of Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Image Description: book cover of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Image Description: book cover of Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Red Rising by Pierce Brown – At first glance it didn’t seem that much different from all the other Young Adult Dystopian trilogies coming out so I was hesitant to read it at first, especially since Divergent and Matched were such boring disappointments, but I really enjoyed the book and flew straight through it, I’m looking forward to completing the trilogy.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Image Description: book cover of Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Image Description: book cover of Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson – I bought both of these as Christmas presents and the friends I gave them to started reading them immediately.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
Image Description: a collection of four books on a green blanket, the books are The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce
I’ve only just started to read the Shade of Magic series by V.E. Schwab (I know, I know, I’m so very behind) but I’m also going to be starting to read The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce for 2017

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
Jenny Lawson

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Image Description: cover of Saga, a graphic novel, volume one
I keep saying memoir is the genre I don’t find most comfortable or read a lot of, but in the last two years, the vast majority of the books on my list have been memoir books, so I’ll have to pick a genre I really like by rarely read from, which is the graphic novel/comics genre and the Saga comic series by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer) and Fiona Staples (Artist). I know it will sound cliche on the surface, especially with the inclusion of literal star-crossed lovers, but it’s really good and I can’t recommend it enough (also read from the beginning or it won’t make a lick of sense). I used to read graphic novels all the time, but kinda stopped, so I’m trying to get back into it.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Tie between the Saga comic series and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
The Saga Comic Series

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
Image Description: book cover of Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Technically this is cheating as I haven’t read it yet, but I did buy it this year so I think it still counts, I just adore the cover of Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, it’s beautifully embossed and I love running my hands over the cover.

11. Most memorable character of 2016?
Image Description: A royal portrait of an alien Prince who has a TV for a head
I’d have to say Prince Robot IV from Saga and Holland from A Darker Shade of Magic – both characters had really strong “Alas Poor Villain!” qualities, I didn’t agree with what they were doing, but I really felt for them.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
IDK, I don’t think I’ve got one for this year

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
Furiouly Happy by Jenny Lawson

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
Image Description: the book cover of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Image Description: the book cover of Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling – they were quick and easy reads but highly enjoyable, I don’t know why I put off reading them.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
My favourite chapter of Furiously Happy which is when Jenny and her husband Victor go to Japan and Victor ends up chasing out people “trying to break into their hotel room” in nothing but a pair of boxer shorts and a katana-sword.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Shortest: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 49 pages
Longest: Red Rising by Pierce Brown 434 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
Probably a tie between The Night Circus (bad reasons) and Red Rising (good reasons)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
I dunno, I still feel a bit meh about most of the couples I’m reading about

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Image Description: book cover of The Crossing by Michael Connelly
Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller (they’re brothers) from the Harry Bosch series and The Lincoln Lawyer series (they occasionally cross-over) by Michael Connelly

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Michael Connelly

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Image Description: book cover of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Probably A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, everyone was saying how great it is (which is true) I kind of felt I had to read it, but I’m super glad I did, although I did procrastinate a bit because of the hype.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
IDK, didn’t really have one.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?
Image Description: book cover of American Housewife by Helen Ellis
American Housewife by Helen Ellis – it’s a comedic collection of short stories, it’s worth a read.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
Image Description: book cover of M is for Autism by The Students of Limpsfield Grange School
Most of the memoirs written by funny ladies had sharp painful moments, but M is for Autism by The Students of Limpsfield Grange School is the one that hit me in the feels the most

Book Blogging 2016
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – Everyone I know will eventually get a copy of this book

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
The Night Circus by Erin Morganstein – I had been struggling with the book for so long, I was just so glad it was finally over and I could move on from it.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
This is hard for me to evaluate, but I’m glad I began the “Things We Don’t Talk About” series of blog-posts, they may not be popular but I don’t write those posts for popularity.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Probably The Beautiful People writing prompt created by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
Self-publishing my first Ebook, Canis Major: Volume I in the Pushing Boundaries series (yes, I will shamelessly plug my own book)

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Getting the reading and writing balance, I was trying to read and review 20 books this year, but my Ebook pretty much took over, which is fine, but I wish I had handled it better.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
The Beautiful Books – NaNoWriMo 2016

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
IDK, I was a little all over the place this year

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
We Need Diverse Books and Disability in Kidlit

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I aimed to read 20 books this year, but changed it to 10, I managed to read over ten books, but it still feels like cheating a little. I managed to self-publish my first Ebook with Kim’s help (Kim is amazing) and I also managed to graduate this year from University (some how? It’s all a bit of blur at this stage)

Looking Ahead to 2017
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
There are so many books I intended to read but had to discard, I’m going to try and remedy that this year.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
The Princess Bride (Book VS Movie) and The Last Unicorn (Book VS Movie)

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Image Description: book cover of Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
Image Description: book cover of A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
Our Dark Duet and A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
I’m hoping to finish the Hunger Games trilogy and the Red Rising trilogy by the end of the year

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
Getting back to regularly commenting on the few book blogs I follow

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
Probably the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

Links:
~The Perpetual Page-Turner: End of Year Book Survey