Best Books I read in 2018!

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Happy (almost) New Year Everybody!         _BirthdayQueen_0028_29

Are you as excited to  begin 2019 as I am!

Have you any New Year’s resolutions ready?

I’m determined to make this year the year that I take control of my health and fitness.

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I know it’s a cliche, but for me this is a priority. Every day is a gift to me now, and I want to take advantage of every moment and squeeze as much joy out of it as I can!

 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

Did you get any new books?

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I had a lovely Christmas. It was a quiet one with my husband and our boys this year. They’re getting older now so we don’t have all the preparation for santa’s visit, or the early mornings to contend with, so it was a lovely relaxing one, with no rush, no appointments, and no stress. Perfect! aqua-bath-flower1

Believe it or not, I didn’t open  a single book for Christmas this year. My husband waited until the day after and then dropped me off at my favorite Barnes and Nobel store, and let me immerse myself in the luxury of being able to choose whatever I wanted. I bought a wide selection of both novels and inspirational reads, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

What’s your favorite book of 2018?

I had a fabulous reading year, and pretty much enjoyed every book that I read. So I thought that I’d share some of my favorite reads of the year with you today. I could do a countdown, but I just can’t wait. Lets just get straight to it. Drum roll….The most outstanding book of 2019 for me, was N0S4R2 by Joe Hill.

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THAT BOOK! It was not only my favorite read of 2018, but it has even hit a high place on my all time top ten reads EVER! If you love a good horror story, go and pick it up. I don’t want to say too much about it, because I think it’s good to go in without a map. But lets just say that if you take a creepy old man who drives around in his antique car, abducting young children, and promising to take them to ‘Christmas land’; it’s going to be a book that you cannot put down.

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This year I’ve made a special effort to  pick up work from authors that are new to me. I don’t know about you, but I’m a creature of habit, and tend to stick with the same pool of authors that I’ve read for years. Thats the beauty of Bookstagram- I learn about different authors and new works that I may have otherwise overlooked in a book store.

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One outstanding author that I turned to this year was Wilbur Smith. Growing up, he was my dad’s favorite author, and he bought Smith’s books as soon as they came out. There was no Instagram back then, and so I always thought they were ‘men’s’ books- aimed at a male audience. So I didn’t venture as far as picking one up back then. AutumnFairytaleClips_0002_1

however, a few weeks ago I was in a book store and I noticed the Wilbur Smith books winking at me from the shelf, so I picked one up out of nostalgia and curiosity. They’ve updated the covers and they’re just beautiful. Just holding the book set off many happy memories for me of my Dad, and I figured ‘why not?’

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I decided to buy some, thinking of it as a wonderful way of connecting with him across time and space. I chose the Egyptian series since I love anything to do with ancient Egypt.

The first book was ‘River God‘ and was centered around the life of the  slave Taita in ancient Egypt, and his relationships with his mistress and the Pharaoh. It is an epic story, that is made so much more interesting as it  has so much fact woven in with the fiction. The second book ‘The Seventh Scroll ” jumps forward to more contemporary times, and to an expedition to find the lost treasures of the aforementioned Pharaoh and the slave Taita based on the story of the first book. Both books were fantastic reads with action and adventure along with great historical interest and lots of mystery and suspense woven in. I loved them. There’s actually six in the series and I am so excited to pick up book number three.

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Smith has written so many books and so many series that I’m now really looking forward to reading. I hope you give him a try!

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Anther notable author for me this last year was Grady Hendrix. He seems to have exploded onto the horror scene with a slew of amazing books. My first read of his was ‘ My Best Friend’s Exorcism‘, followed by ‘Horrorstor” and of course his non fiction catalog ‘Paperback’s From Hell‘. I am looking forward to reading ‘We Sold our Souls. Hendrix’s writing style is really unique in the genre. He manages to scare the bejeebas out of you and yet give you warm fuzzies at the same time. His work is part nostalgic, 1980′ s vibes, and part supernatural suspense. Whatever you want to call it, it works.

 

Other outstanding books that I’d recommend this year are:

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Dracul by Dacre Stoker & J.D. Barker . Get it HERE

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Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay . Also from HERE 

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For children’s books, I’ve finally discovered Mary Downing Hahn books which they LOVED. These are all suspense and spooky books but not too scary. Click to follow the links.

The Ghost of Cratchfield Hall

One for Sorrow

The Doll In The Garden

and Closed For the Season 

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So, to highlight some of my best reads this year. Here are some of the others that I read this year and loved. I’ve tried to include lots of different genres here, so that there’s something that might take your eye:

Best Vintage book has to be Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon

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Best Biography Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

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and I also loved this YA Biography of Mary Shelley ‘The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein’s creator Mary Shelley by Catherine Reef

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Best Debut YA book Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Best Historical Fiction The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.

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I could go on and on, because I read so many superb books in 2018. If you want to see more, then just pop across to my Instagram feed which is linked on the right, and see if you agree with my thoughts on the books I have read.

Do you have any you want to recommend to me? drop me a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Have a wonderful new year, stay safe. Remember to stick with a friend if you’re out partying. Male or female, you’re safer in a group.Charge up your phone, wrap up, and have fun!

Lots of love and best wishes for 2019 xxx

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Another Fabulous Giveaway for you!

 

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Hello Peeps, and a huge ‘Welcome’ to my latest giveaway!

I’m really excited about this one,This time around, I decided to give you more choices of prize packs. There will still be one main winner and a handful of consolation prize winners, but you now have the choice of which one of three themed packages that you would prefer!

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I know everybody always loves Harry Potter, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t? so I guess he’ll be included in almost all my giveaways, but I thought it would be nice to add a Bookish themed choice too, and also a Horror themed pack. That hopefully covers a larger proportion of my followers different tastes and will hopefully encourage more of you to join in. So here’s some more details:

hydrangea 5The reason I chose the ‘Bookish’ themed pack is that I noticed that some of you live in places where it is quite difficult to find cute props for your #bookstagram habit. Here in the U.S. it seems that we have a ton of places to rummage around in and find crafty props for our photo’s, but in other countries, I’ve heard that it’s not always so easy.

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So if you live somewhere where it is difficult to find faux flowers and shells etc, then perhaps you might like this themed pack the best. I’ve chosen as carefully as possible. You will see below that I have picked several faux long-stemmed flowers that can be placed as a lovely frame around your pictures. I’ve also added some scatter style packs of flowers in different colors that can be placed strategically too.

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I picked up some beautiful butterfly props (and you will see that I’ve been using this type lots lately) and I’ve added some starfish props for any ocean themed pictures, for those of you who may not live near the water.

 

Seashells_15I’m also including a fun notebook and a cute sleep mask. Some of the items in my giveaway were exclusive to a particular subscription box, that are now sold out, but I’ve added them here and there, so hopefully you may see something that you missed out on!

Whichever package you choose, you will receive some battery operated string lights, which look gorgeous on pictures.

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The second pack is a ‘Horror’ themed pack.

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I’m including two freaky funko pops from the hit movie ‘It’, a fabulous ‘It’ themed mug (which I personally love) some horror themed pins/ badges and a patch.

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The winner will also receive a copy of the latest Stephen King books.’The Body’ is a paperback and ‘The Outsider’ is hardback. Here’s the best bit; if you live in the U.S, I will include a U.K copy and if you live in the U.K I will  send you a U.S copy! How amazing will that be?

I’ve included a ‘Decomposition notebook, some ‘hocus Locus’ themed items (bookmark and bracelet), an ouija board photo print and some fabulous witchy art cards by @Terrifoss . There’s a 10×8 horror print, and a bracelet which is unisex. If something else catches my eye, I’ll be adding it!

 

And that brings me to the Harry Potter option.

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Included in this pack is an adorable Christmas themed HP mug by Nerdy girl designs (because it’s not that far off you know) A hardback anniversary copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone’ in the Slytheryn edition, with a paperback copy in Gryffindor house. A Gryffindor patch,

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There’s also a wand book, some themed snitch earrings, some muggles socks and a Quidditch themed Ron Weasley funko pop. Even better, I’ve found a fabulous tree that looks just like the Whomping Willow!

 

And what about the book pouch, the badges, and the candles which were in the Christmas candle box from A Court of Candles. I’ve even included some notebooks. So much in this giveaway, whatever theme that you choose. I hope you love it.Harry.png

 

So, here’s what you do. On Monday 11th June 2018 my giveaway will go live. Expect this to be around 12p.m EST or 9a.m PT. That’s 5p.m U.k time and 6p.m for France, Germany Etc.

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All I need you to do is:

** like the post**

**Follow me**

**tag two friends who may be interested**

**repost the picture of your choice of themed pack  on your main feed(swipe through the giveaway post pics for the pack of your choice) with the tag: #bookscupsandcandlesga

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Closing date is midnight Florida time on Sunday 24th June 2018!

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES:

**Follow this blog**

**Like this post**

**leave a comment (and don’t forget to add your Instagram name) **

 

You can also gain extra entries for sharing the giveaway on your story. Each story share is an extra entry!

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RULES:

**Must be a public account**

**no giveaway accounts**

**must be over 18 or have parental permission**

**not affiliated with Instagram**

**must leave repost picture up until closing date when you will see me ‘like’ your picture. This means it has been counted!**

**winner will be announced within a week of the closing date**

That’s it! Good luck everybody. I can’t wait to see what you choose!

 

Lots of love, Sally xxx