Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Art in an Age of Anxiety

Photo taken by me


Hello everyone.

Right now, the world is a scary place.

This fear isn't discriminating. However, those of us with existing mental health issues are being affected more than normal.

Concerts, conventions, and theatre shows are being cancelled. Travel plans are being put on hold, groups of friends are being told not to continue their weekly traditions at their local pub. Love is being told to distance itself. People are being told to distance themselves from art.

A lot of people on Twitter are offering to provide art for others who need to self-isolate, and I thought I would join in.

I have made a simple poetry zine, and it is completely free to read. The first issue is called 'Healing' and contains four positive poems about the title subject.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW IT

If you would like to access more art for free, I will be sharing lots of links over on Twitter.

Stay safe, and keep consuming art.

We will heal together.


Sunday, 8 March 2020

The Kindness of Strangers


Happy International Women's Day everyone!

Today has been surreal. 

Last night, I asked some of my Twitter friends to send me their Amazon wish-lists so I could buy them a book. I wasn't feeling too great about myself or the world, and wanted to spread some love.

Well, I spread some love around. And got a lot of love in return.

Today, I saw a similar post from a fellow blogger asking for more wish-lists, so I left mine in the comments whilst scrolling through and buying a book for as many people as I could. Their post had a lot more responses, so I spent a while interacting with people from all over the world.

I was not expecting so many people to reply to my link, telling me they had sent me 'a little something'. All I wanted to do was brighten a few people's days, but actually they ended up brightening mine.

There are many times in life when you can feel all alone in the world. I'm very blessed in my life, but I still feel that loneliness sometimes. And sometimes, you just need someone to remind you that you're not alone.

I have been overwhelmed with love today. I know that I am not alone.

So to the women, men, and non-binary friends who have bought me a book: THANK YOU. It means more to me than you will ever know.

If you would like to send a book to some lovely people, here is the link to the post I'm included in

If you can't afford a book, a nice comment on someone's blog post or a message to let them know they're not alone can mean just as much.

My faith in humanity is constantly restored.

Keep being lovely, and keep spreading the love in any way you can.

Hannah x

Friday, 6 March 2020

REVIEW: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Photo by me @hannahkimmins

Title: .Harrow Lake
Author: Kat Ellis
Publisher: Penguin 
Release Date: 9th July 2020
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Page Count: 320
Original Language: English
Format Read: Paperback arc
Other books in series: N/A
Movie Adaptation: N/A (but omg I wish)

Pre-order: Waterstones, Amazon, The Book Depository 


Welcome to Harrow Lake. Someone's expecting you . . .
Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker - she thinks nothing can scare her.
But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she's swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she's never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father's most iconic horror movie was shot.
The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map - and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.
And there's someone - or something - stalking her every move.
The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola's got secrets of her own. And if she can't find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.


Review

I was kindly gifted this book by the team over at Penguin Platform, and even though I had no idea what to expect, I ended up devouring this book!

Just like Mr Jitters will devour you...

Rarely am I actually able to visualise every word in a book, but this is an exception. The entire novel played out seamlessly in my head as if I was watching a horror film. This, I suppose, is testament to Kat Ellis' incredible talent for description and imagery. 

Photo by me

Over the past year, there has been a thriller revolution in young adult fiction, and I am HERE FOR IT. This is a fast-paced horror, which I loved, because there is nothing worse than a thriller where nothing happens. This story is crammed with detail and suspense. 

Lola is a brilliantly developed character who is driven to madness with both the secrets her family keep from her and the secrets she keeps from everyone else. Forced to wear her absent mother's old costumes whilst she stays with her grandmother in the town made famous from the film her parents created together, she is consumed by the thought of Mr Jitters, the monster from Harrow Lake's folk tales. However, humans are often the real monsters...

In short, this is a brilliant book that successfully makes it's mark in the current YA trends, and I can't wait to see what Kat Ellis does next.

Pre-order now!

Thursday, 13 February 2020

BLOG TOUR: Wilder Girls by Rory Power



Hello!

Today I am lucky enough to be a stop on the #WilderGirls blog tour - and just in time for Galentine's Day!

This is perfect timing, because friendship is a HUGE theme in Wilder Girls. 


What is Wilder Girls about?


Everyone loses something to the Tox; Hetty lost her eye, Reese's hand has changed, and Byatt just disappeared completely.
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put in quarantine. The Tox turned the students strange and savage, the teachers died off one by one. Cut off from the mainland, the girls don’t dare wander past the school’s fence where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure as the Tox takes; their bodies becoming sick and foreign, things bursting out of them, bits missing.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her best friend, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie in the wilderness past the fence. As she digs deeper, she learns disturbing truths about her school and what else is living on Raxter Island. And that the cure might not be a cure at all . . .


Guest post by Rory Power

As part of the virtual blog tour, author Rory Power has written about the importance of female friendships in her book and in real life. So, I'll hand you over to Rory!


Photo of Rory provided by Macmillan


Wilder Girls is about a lot of things - being alienated from one’s own body, the changes happening in our climate, and queer romance, among others - but really, at its core, it’s about the bond between a pair of best friends. Like almost every relationship in the book, that friendship is complicated, messy and destructive. It has the power to change the world the characters live in, and to hold together a trio of girls on the edge of falling apart.

I’ve always been fascinated by trios of characters. It’s an unstable number, three - usually it’s made up of a pair and a third that is somehow the odd one out. Harry and Ron, and Hermione. Joey and Chandler, and Ross. For Wilder Girls, that’s Hetty and Byatt, and Reese. Hetty and Byatt are best friends, always together, relying on each other in a way that might be called codependent. That kind of friendship is so familiar to many of us. I had many like it when I was a teenager, particularly. At that age, my friends were how I defined myself, how I figured out who I was and who I wanted to be. For Hetty, who’s been cut off from the outside world, her friendship with Byatt is all she has to define herself, and when that’s taken away from her, she’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

But my favorite things about a trio of characters are the secondary relationships - the two people who probably wouldn’t hang out without the third. Byatt and Reese don’t have much to say to each other, but they don’t need to. They see each other clearly, for better or worse.

Those are the sorts of friendships I’ve come to value in my own life. People who call you on your bad habits, who push you to be better, who let you be just who you are and not who you’re expected to be. It is worth so much to have someone who understands you exactly. That may not always come along with closeness, but on this particular Galentine’s Day (which I must of course pause to thank Leslie Knope for helping to popularize) I’m thinking of the people in my life who stay there by choice, and who help me be my fullest self.

Get the book:





Book cover provided by Macmillan

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

And Now I Am 23...

Me on New Year's Eve!


Today is my birthday. I am 23 today.

I don't particularly like birthdays. If I had a summer birthday, I would probably like it more. But being born a week after New Year's Day means that I often do my reflecting and make resolutions on my birthday instead.

So, the 7th of January has become my official start of the New Year. When reflecting on the previous year of my life, I normally think about the things I haven't done rather than what I have done. 

I haven't published a book yet. 

Or even finished writing one yet. 

I haven't got lots of money in the bank. 

I haven't become that successful person I envision myself as.

This year is especially hard for a couple of personal reasons. It would be really, really easy for me to slip into that depressive state like I do every year. The state I end up regretting every year.

So instead, I'm changing my tradition. Today, on my 23rd birthday, I am going to think about all of the things I have done over the past year:


  1. Went to therapy and actually got something out of it
  2. Went to a creative writing group and did my first ever poetry reading
  3. Took my first solo trip and had a great time in Paris
  4. Started my Masters degree
  5. Got a job at Waterstones (and I'm being kept on this time!)

This exact time a year ago, I never would have imagined that I would be this mentally strong (thanks, therapy!), this responsible for my own thoughts and feelings, and this settled in life. I have a schedule again, goals to work towards, and I am learning new things about the world every day. 

So, in honour of my New Year, here are my resolutions:

  1. Travel
  2. Continue to heal from the wounds that 2019 left
  3. Be fiercely grateful for the good things in life, however small
  4. Be loving to myself and others

Now, I'm off to go and watch Six the Musical! Have a wonderful day!