Monday, 10 December 2012

Finding the Christmas Spirit

Not So Good News
My lovely readers, the weekend didn't have a great kick-off.  It started on Friday with some unsettling health news for a loved one, the very same day, when I went out to clean out my bunnies, I found my beloved giant bunny with her eyes swollen shut and having difficulty breathing. We rushed her to the vet but my poor girl was diagnosed with suspected Myxomatosis and so didn't come home with us... Needless to say; though I am certain we made the right choice for her, I am feeling a little bruised on the inside.

~My Girl: Holly~

Gettin' in the spirit
In desperate need of a pick-me-up, I had my hair done and treated myself to some new leggings and leg warmers on Saturday. (I have never owned a pair of leg warmers in my life.. but these were soooo cute, I couldn't resist. Totally rocking the legging/warmer/skater shoe look!)
~Cute and warm..
A similar design to mine...~
Today has marked the official beginning of getting in the festive mood, and it's been a busy day full of shopping and decorating. We have navigated our way through the throngs of people, been patient in queues whilst other people (who are old enough enough to know better) tutted and huffed, wrestled with a tree and untangled lights... Oh don't get me started on the lights. Urrrrraaagh! I swear there are Christmas light imps that just love to tangle them and leave them in a state... and there are never any spare bulbs in the colour that's required...
And there is still a million things left to do... cards, presents to find let alone buy and wrap, food, all the little extras, organising when to see everyone...

It's left us (and probably a lot of people out there) feeling a little like this:


~The tea cosy can also be... A hat!~
 
 
Yep, this is a pic of my son with a Christmas pudding tea-cosy on his head... When the going gets tough, there's nothing like burying your head in the s... Pudding?!

(Seriously. Who uses tea cosies now? This came down from the attic with the rest of the x-mas gear and was a gift three or four Christmases ago..)

Though things were manic and a little stressful, we had lots of fun today and OJ made us laugh with his tea-cosy-on-the-head game. Little baby Z, now more confident in toddling around, was into absolutely everything. He kept running off with things he shouldn't with such a mischievous look about him that we couldn't be mad as it was so funny.
I can't help but feel proud of the patience my children showed today. They were rushed around, in and out of the car, stuck waiting in queues, waiting for us to "just finish this last thing" etc.
It's so easy to get buried in the pressure to get everything done but it was wonderful just to take a precious moment here and there to absorb our children's wonder and excitement.

I won't get up on my soap box and ramble on about remembering the meaning, joy and hope of Xmas, but just to say that I really hope that if you guys are getting a little stressed out that you still mange to find lots of fun and laughter in the count-down to the 25th December.

~There is a tree under all those lights... Honest!~
 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Normal Service Resumed?!



Yoooooooooooooooohoooooooooooooo!

I have been away from the blogspere for what feels like forever... To write a complete catch-up post would be rather long and boring so I will keep it brief.


So what happened?!!
No, I didn't slip into a wandering vortex, or get abducted by space monkeys; nor did I fall into a uncovered manhole. I simply had a bad case of what I like to call, "upset life rhythm".

I wish I could report my absence as being a result of an agent "realising my potential" or that I have been busy hammering at the keys to complete my first novel, but alas, it's simply because I have returned to work.

Since returning to work, it's been a hard slog. New role, new staff, new distractions... NO READING OR WRITING!

*knocks head on keyboard repeatedly*

Days have slipped from one to the next and it's left me feeling unsettled and in a dreamlike state. You would think that reading and writing would put you permanently in a dream world, but on the contrary, reading and writing seems to ground me.

Back to work

The lows
Hmm...I don't like to dwell on it but it's been STRESSFULwith members of staff off sick. Trying to keep up with demand, workload etc etc has been a tough juggling act.
Not only has it meant minimal reading and writing, it's meant minimal sleep and I am exhausted. This has led to a number of weeks without running... So I'm not feeling great about that either. Returning to work has had an impact on everything.

Our fair fish (Bubbles to those who knew of him through older posts) died last night and as a parent, this is rather hard to explain to an angry little boy who is demanding that we get Bubbles back... right now... and he's "not even kidding you!" (OJ's newest phrase)...

There have been plenty of tears, tantrums and sickness in the household of late, and today was the icing on the cake when I suffered verbal abuse from a woman on the phone. To cut a long story short, I regretfully had to change my mind about taking on another rabbit... I expected a little frustration from the seller but not complete and utter outrage. It was not my intention to madden the woman, it was a genuine regret... Sheesh. If I had intentially wanted to waste her time, I would just not have bothered to show up at the agreed time! I can't write what she said but lets just say she might want to work on her vocab as well as her people skills...
Scary sh*t...


The highs

OJ STARTED PRE-SCHOOL!!! (and then was off the second week due to illness but we shall sweep past that part..)

We have six cute bunnies.We now have two Rex, two giant Flemish and two Netherland cross... more pics and stories to follow I'm sure. (Oh you lucky people!)

My hubby celebrated his 30th birthday this month and we shared a lovely afternoon together whilst nan-nan insisted on babysitting. It was great to take a walk, hold hands and appreciate a quiet meal. It was a wonderful reminder that we are still the same people even with being preoccupied wih our two little blessings!

What's next?

I'm just trying to get my routines back on track, which means more efforts to get back to reading, writing and blogging.

For now it's attempting to sleep before one of my boys wake from coughing fits or bad dreams!


P.S. I know it's only been a month but that is quite some time in the blogspere, so thank you to all my lovely followers for staying with it over here.

 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

REVIEW:

Yorick
Yorick

By Vlad Vaslyn

~ Horror, humour, supernatural, short fiction~


Paperback, 90 pages (Kindle edition)
Published October 28th 2012 by Vlad Vaslyn (first published October 28th 1012)
 
 
* * * * * out of five stars




The Blurb (via goodreads)

Poor Roberta. She's aging, has lost everyone she's ever loved, and now she lives out her sad, lonely days feeding on bad convenience store food and faded memories of happier times. She wants nothing more than to join her loved ones in the afterlife, but then a gruesome discovery along the banks of the Merrimack River changes everything. Roberta knows she'll never be alone again

My review

If you are a fan of short, snappy horror with a dash of humour to compliment it, then you must read Yorick.
I was invited by Mr Vaslyn to read the first chapter or so to see if I would be interested in reading and reviewing it. One of the things I distinctively remember thinking as I read the first paragraph was: Where on earth is the author going to take this?! But that sold it. I was so intrigued and pulled in by Vaslyn’s descriptions and punchy introduction, I found myself compelled to find out.
Vaslyn is brilliant at building character, whilst developing atmosphere and story.

I instantly liked and felt sympathy for Roberta. She was the kind of character that you pray you don’t become in old age. She is all of our fears about growing old in one character.

The story is mainly set up around Roberta and her “discovery”. With some supporting characters giving Roberta more depth and background into how she is perceived in her community.
Vaslyn uses humour skilfully in this work of horror, something that I feel can be tricky to nail in a horror story. Humour can break a horror story down (in my experience) but truthfully, the humour in this was brilliance. I won’t go into detail here as not to spoil it for potential readers, but look out for the conversations Roberta has with her discovered skull.  They are somewhat innocent, normal yet so bizarre.

As a sweeping statement, I am not a fan of short stories; they somehow don’t quench the thirst I have for background, back story and explanation but Yorick as thrown my thoughts on short stories completely. The pace maintains interest whilst the ending is satisfying. It comes together but also leaves just enough room for speculation as to what might’ve happened next.  I will definitely be looking out for more from this promising and talented author.
Dark, twisted and creepy; a real little gem of a horror.

Yorick is definitely worth a cosy eve in on the sofa...  Well... It’s not every day you are going to read about a little old lady wondering around with a skull tucked under her arm...

**A brief message for Mr Vaslyn**
I don’t know how you stumbled upon my blog, but I’m sincerely glad you did. Thank you.




 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Post via Ipad

Don't get excited... It's a borrowed iPad, we don't have that kinda money - I just had to get a post out there before I went crazy from withdrawal!
I also wanted to see how easy it was to use to post with this thing... Typing seems O.K. so I'm in business!
This quick post goes out to those who are in potty training battle....

The Potty Training Games

I started potty training OJ in August, for two amazing weeks he had it cracked. No accidents and no reminders to use the potty. He took it in his stride. I couldn't believe my luck... and I was right to be suspicious of it! It has since been a huge struggle and a battle of wills. I've tried various reward systems but it continues to be unsuccessful with OJ seeming to choose if he uses it or not..
Yesterday, I could feel that my fuse was getting shorter. I was on shaky ground. After OJ proudly told me that he had wet his training pants again in the space of half an hour (and after asking him every 5 minutes if he needed to use the potty) I finally snapped. Whilst changing him, I asked him how weeing in his pants made him feel, expecting him to offer some remorse for his actions. He looked at me thoughtfully and replied: "soggy"

Well, I couldn't help but laugh which relieved all the tension.

It got me thinking as to why I have put so much pressure on myself to get OJ past this milestone. Why am I so intent on making him grow up so quick? Maybe on some level I thought people would judge me if I hadn't got my son out of nappies. In wanting to support OJ with this learning experience, I have only succeeded in stressing us all out. Time for a change of plan.

OJ has had his fair amount of change to contend with, with me going back to work and being expected to be a "big boy". I have caught our little lads' behaviour regressing in other areas too. Such as wanting to crawl about, wanting his dummy (when he has only had the thing at night since forever) and wanting to climb back into his high chair. He is in his own battle of dependence and independent. It may even be a spot of jealousy of his little brother.

Whatever it is, I think we are going to have to go at OJ's pace and hope for the best. He is supposed to be starting pre-school soon so I am a little concerned about what other parents and staff are going to think. But whatever. As long as OJ is happy, he will come around in his own time.

I just wanted to pass this experience on to others and, if you and your tot are going through potty training - hang on in there!


Monday, 8 October 2012

Snapshot Week

It's been a week where I have focused on the wrong things. That is, I have caught myself being rather negative. This is the offending phrase:

"But I don't have enough time to..."

  • read- I don't know about you, but one of my most favourite and comforting places to read is snuggled in bed. So, after a hard day at work (I won't go into it, it was just he said, she said cr*p) I snuggled down under the duvet with my Kindle. Hubby kindly offered to make tea, by the time he came back up with it he found me asleep... on my kindle!
  • write - When you are that tired, you can't even squeeze a drop of inspiration from the brain...
  • blog - Because I haven't had time to read, I couldn't even finish a book to review... Rather disappointing...
As I sat down to write tonight, I could feel the Sunday night blues creeping in and I didn't want to do that to my readers yet again. I thought that instead, I would share some fun events of the week, things I'm looking forward to and things that have just stuck in the mind...

"Baby Brain" Moments

One of the things I was warned about when I had my boys was that I was going to have more "baby-brain" moments, that is, forgetfulness. I'm sure I have read debates as to whether or not this is proven, but it stands to reason that as a mum, you have so much more to think about and get done, that you are naturally going to forget more.

I have noticed that since returning to work, I have more "funny moments" and they have made me laugh at myself. (Like, no way did I just do that?!) This morning for instance. I learnt that trying to get too many jobs done at once can result in some silly happenings. Whilst getting the washing and breakfast done, I went to put the detergent bottle in the fridge!
I also seem to find myself upstairs wondering what it is that I have gone up there for!

I was just wondering if any other mums have any funny baby-brain moments they would like to share?

Thinks by bitterjug - Thought cloud from the facilitation set


Brotherly Love
When the chips are down, I can count on one thing. My boys will melt my heart and remind me why life is such a blessing.
I don't use TV as a back up very often, but one particularly hectic afternoon, I decided that an episode of Thomas the Tank would be Okay. (Goodness knows what was going on, I probably had to preform an emergency hoover or something!) Anyhoo, the theme tune came on and baby Z crawled up to OJ, and using the TV stand, pulled himself to stand next to him. Whilst OJ was singing, baby Z started  to sway and bop along! Oh my word. I was nearly in tears! It was just so, so cute!
OJ can find his little brothers presence somewhat irritating but just lately he has been a sweetie pie... Hmm... Most of the time...

Ice cream
We have been looking at the family's diet and are very careful about treats. We aim to cut the snacking through the week but choose a nice treat to have at the weekend. Hubby brought back some ice cream from he supermarket for this week's treat.
It was Heaven in a tub... Peanut Butter Crunch. Wow. Whoever put that together is a genius.



Celebrations
There are two celebrations I am looking forward to this month. The first is baby Z's 1st birthday. I know every parent must say it, but WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?! And I swear that the first year passes even more quickly with the second child. I am both excited and a little saddened. I'm a little unsure as to why I am saddened by reaching this amazing milestone..
It's going to be  quiet affair. I will get some decorations up and bake his cake; but we shall see what the day brings!

The second is Halloween... (Or Samhain) I love this time of the year. There is something almost magical about it. I celebrate each year by lighting a candle in honour of those that are not with us now. It's just a nice opportunity to reflect. This year however, I plan on making a bit more of a celebration out of it. I have bought a few decorations, plan to buy a pumpkin and have got some costumes (not scary) for the boys.

I also hope to review a scary book or two during this month and to write a post... Fingers crossed!

Aren't these the cutest? Baby Z has a little pumpkin costume to with these booties...
Yep. I'm in trouble when he's old enough to look back at the photos...


 


Fish Update
Yes folks. Those who read the earlier post would have read that we have a pet fish thanks to the fair and despite my worry of having to explain about fishy heaven to OJ, Bubbles the fish is alive and well. I am also considering getting the little fellow a "proper" tank with a pump.. He's moving on up in his little fishy world...

The Perils of Running
I promise, this is the last thing to share...

I've been back at work for two weeks and I have only been able to run at the weekends. Operation "Lose the baby weight" has slowed down somewhat as a result. Though a little disappointed, I still recognise that to keep it going for this long is an achievement in itself. I have set further goals and find these are good motivation for getting warmed up, jogging between 12-17 minutes and then feeling like I'm about to have a cardiac arrest for my troubles. I have promised myself a new pair of trainers if I hit my first target weight and a new pair of jeans for reaching the second. I would also like to achieve this before Christmas.... Realistic? Hmmm.

I would like to point out that running is a dangerous kind of pastime. So far I have nearly been run down by a cyclist, nearly ended up on my a$$ by an assassin slug and today, I was attacked by a great, hulking, wet faced dog who wanted to play... Sheesh. If only I had room for a running machine... Nah. I would probably do something stupid and break the machine... or myself!


Assassin Slugs
Slippery booby-traps



Whatever you guys are up to,have a fab week!
~Thanks for reading!~



Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Autumn Brings the Fair

For me, I absolutely adore Autunm.
Autumn means: hot chocolate and marshmallows, apple and blackberry crumble and cooler weather that excuses more snuggling up in cosy jumpers and extra blankets! It means carnival, fireworks and I am also a bit of a Halloween fan too! Nature just does something wonderful with colour and change. There really is something about this season that generally makes me very happy.

Autumn also becomes more official for me with the arrival of the annual fair.

Bridgwater Fair

It comes to our town the last Wednesday to Saturday of September. I thought I had outgrown the candy floss and excitement, but it turns out that having children of our own has reignited that all over again.

So, we took the tiddlers to the fair on Thursday and again on Saturday.

OJ was quiet to start with. I don't blame him. I knelt down with him at one point to get a feel for what he was experiencing, and man, you have to be pretty tough to be a two year old with all that loud, buzzing atmosphere going on around you. All you could see were legs at his level! Mind you, it didn't take the little nipper long to get into the swing of things. He wanted to get on all the rides, (he even took mummy on the carousel!) he wanted to play hook the duck (he won a monster tube of bubbles and a a soft toy duck for his his little bro') and of course, he decided that Daddy should win him a fish...

And so, we have ended up with this little beauty:





He's kinda cute as far as goldfish go. OJ has decided to call him "Bubbles" (though the hubby wanted to call him: "Lieutenant Shiny Sides" after a Family Guy sketch... best not ask...) and though a bit of a predictable fish name, it works!
Can you believe I have never owned a goldfish before? So this addition to the family will be interesting. He is also therapeutic to watch...

I have been warned not to get attached to the little critter as being a Fair fish, his chances are slim. (Something to do with the fact they have probably been bred as "feeder"fish and are subjected to a hell of a lot of stress) but, he's been with us since Thursday and appears happy enough!

We shared some really special, family moments over the weekend. Ones that will stay with us. There is something wonderful about sharing hot doughnuts on a breezy, autumn afternoon and watching the little 'uns wonder at the world.

And our little Zman? He dealt with things in his own way...

Asleep!

What do you guys love about Autumn?!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Getting Back to Work



*Flumps into computer chair.*

Well. That was certainly a bumpy kinda week!


Back in the hot seat...

It's sooooo good to be writing a post again! It's felt like forever!

As many of you will know, my year's maternity leave came to an end and I was back to work on Monday. My first week back to work was... Hard.
I am only going back to 20 hours a week, but believe me, this is more than enough and more than I would like to be doing. But "needs must" as they say and, with a mortgage to pay and hungry mouths to feed then this is just the way of it.

Going back to work was always going to be difficult  for me. I knew that I was going to have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I want to be out there earning a living, I have always worked for what I have, but then on the other, leaving my own children (and so young) to work with other peoples' leaves me feeling rather odd.

I also hadn't been realistic about what the impact of going to work was going to have on the me-time I had been carving for myself during maternity leave... I'm just physically and mentally exhausted. So much so that by Thursday, I hadn't read a line of my current novel, been anywhere near my running shoes and I hadn't even managed to get a single note/idea down for my writing projects... Withdrawals? You bet!

Confession? I was going to write up this post yesterday, but my own work-in-progress-hoping-to-be-a-novel-someday was calling and I couldn't help but go with it. It felt glorious to sink back into the mind space of my story. Finally. Some normality! (I'm in the midst of re-working chapter three - it really does suck!)



My week:

Monday came with butterflies in the stomach and pangs of guilt that threatened to crush me like a bug under a shoe... Okay. I'm open to suggestion for similes a little less gross but with the same kinda impact...

After a shaky start leaving the house, I was fine as I walked from my car and through the doors. That was until my colleague looked at me with the same sympathy and concern one would give to a kitten in the rain and that just did it. I ended up an embarrassing, blubbering mess!

It was all her fault of course.
Yeah. Way to go on sucking it up and getting on with things Schez!



But my co-workers were great and let me settle in slowly. It helped that I could flex a bit of the creative muscle and, I was also busy getting to know my new colleagues and children in the nurture group I am now supporting.

When I arrived home, there was no gushy reunion. Both my little lads were busy in their own games with Nan-Nan. Cheers then boys!
( Well, at least I know there are both happy. It would have been so much worse if they had been distressed by my absence)

When the alarm went off on Tuesday morning, it was dark and chilly. It also came with the following realisation: Oh good god, it wasn't a dream. I'm actually back to this...

Wednesday I was home ill. Trust me, you really don't wanna know, but it also must be some kind of "How quick can you get ill after your first day back at work?" record...

Thursday was just stressful. Maybe I shouldn't have gone in, but some weird, determined work ethic makes me do crazy things, so I found myself back in there and praying for home time.

Lucky for me, Friday's are spent at home with my boys. So that wasn't too bad. I think Friday's are going to be even more precious from here on in...

I just can't seem to shake how tired I feel. As soon as the kids were in bed, that was it. I was out like a light! I actually managed to get out for a run this morning for the first time since Sunday and it was hopeless. I couldn't get around my usual circuit without slowing to a brisk walk several times.Maybe it's just the combination not running for a while, being poorly midweek and generally being absolutely shattered?!

I  need to establish better routines so I can reclaim my me-time. All I really want to do at the moment is sleep!

Here's hoping that things get a bit easier and I get some routine established!
Happy weekend peeps!




Monday, 24 September 2012

Beating the Sunday Night Blues

Oh yes, I have them bad. The Sunday night blues. Probably worse than I have had them before. (I feel like the maiden tied to the stake as a sacrifice to the Kraken... Oooh, dramaaaaa!)
 
Source

A whole years has passed so tomorrow I go back to work. I am so, so nervous. I can't believe the time has gone so quickly. I feel awful that I am leaving my children to return to work. It doesn't seem fair somehow. However, I am blessed to have a wonderful mum-in-law who can't wait for me to go to work so she can spend some time with the bambinos! I know they are in safe hands which is comforting at least.

Funny Weekend Ecard: The best cure for the Sunday night blues is a Dirty Martini. Luckily I've had five so I don't even know what day it is anymore.

I know lots of people suffer from Sunday night blues; the weekend slipping away and the return to the Monday grindstone as it were, can leave one feeling a little flat.

So; here's what I did today that helped to cheer me up - maybe you could add some more in the comments box -lets banish the blues!

1) Hugs! - Never underestimate the power of a hug. It can really help. My boys gave me lots today.... I wonder if it's because on some level they can tell mummy isn't so happy today?! Grab your nearest and dearest and hug it out!

hug by johnny_automatic - from



2) Retail therapy - it doesn't have to be much, something small to cheer you up. Today I bought myself a bag of jelly beans and played "Guess the flavour". It's a tasty game, you really oughta try it...

Source

3) Starbucks - I  cant help it, love it! I still have to have decaf as I am still nursing; but it's still just as delicious!
A cupful of bokeh.
Source

4) Read a book - Seriously! It's great escapism. you can slip into a completely different life and time and have an adventure!


Pile of Books by J_Alves - A high stack of books, drawn in Inkscape.
 
 
5) Get Active - Technically, Sunday is the fay of rest, but a little bit of motivation can help boost the happy levels. It can be anything, running, walking, cycling, dancing around like a loon to your favourite tunes even; just get on it! Today I went for a jog. Though it was hard to get going, but by the end, I was feeling much better.; even more so when I discovered I had beaten my personal best!



bike by Machovka -


6) Be prepared - It sounds obvious but getting everything sorted and prepared for Monday will help you feel more relaxed and you will enjoy your weekend a lot more. Thinking about Monday is the last thing you want to do, but leaving it to the last minute is a stress you can do without.

list / liste by lmproulx - A lineart of a list
 
7) Have things to look forward to - Having things to look forward to gives you something to aim for. It maybe something special for Monday night tea, or maybe meeting up with a fried for example. Just give yourself something nice that you can look forward to getting to by the end of the day.

calendar by CoD_fsfe - Calendar/todo/deadline icon Originally developed for www.studenti.unige.it


What do you do on a Sunday to beat those blues?

Wish me luck for tomorrow - Have a great week everyone!









 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

REVIEW:


Spur of the Moment
By Candace Bowen Early

~ Adult fiction, Historical romance, Time travel ~


Paperback, 350 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Rhemalda Publishing (first published January 29th 2012)
 
* * * * out of five stars
 
 
 
 


The Blurb: (Via Goodreads)

Best-selling author Bronwyn Chase never quite fit in with the 21st century. On a publicity trip to New York City, a mysterious woman claiming to be a mystic from Bronwyn’s past gives her a silver knights spur. Asked to save Euric, a man she never knew existed, Bronwyn finds herself transported to 12th-century Cornwall. Landing at the feet of an entranced Euric, she discovers the instant connection she feels to him comes from a midsummer rite gone horribly awry on the eve of her birth. Forced to face a dark wicce who plans to use Euric for her own nefarious ends, Bronwyn summons her own mystical birthright to free him.

My Review

I'm just going to say it how it is: I reeeeeeeeeeeeally enjoyed this book; probably more so than the sequel.

I instantly liked Bronwyn and thought her character was very well developed. I also felt that the author cared very much for her too.
There was room in the story for Bronwyn to grow; we see how she deals with her past circumstances and also, how she deals with an agent who manipulates and uses her for her own gain. Her realisations, her strengths and her weaknesses.

Her voice was easy to accept and follow which kept the pages turning.

Thinking about it, I pretty much liked all the characters; which were well developed and interesting- especially Albert. You definitely need someone like him around!
Even the characters who you were not meant to like were well written. Janelle was perfect as a power mad, crazy bitch! Some the confrontations between her and Bronwyn were wonderfully charged and exciting! (C'mon Bronwyn -Kick her evil little butt!)

What really stood out for me with this story, is how the author dealt with Bronwyn's going back in time; I found myself giggling at points - there were some genuinely humorous  moments; especially concerning language and understanding form both parties!

As many of you have already read, I am not a huge romance fan, but the story between Bronwyn and Euric was wonderful to watch unfurl. Sometimes, romantic scenes can make me cringe as I feel they are overdone and "movie" style. "Cheesy" But I felt the author was very careful with the love and romance element. (which, pleasantly, resulted in my keeping lunch down! Hehe!) The author was very good at leading the reader down a road with description and leaving it just at the right stage for the reader to fill in the blanks. The interactions, thoughts and feelings were well described and believable.

There came a point  in which the story felt like it had finished... With 40% of the story left to go; I did wonder how the author was going to continue.. But I wasn't disappointed; in fact it was very satisfying and answered a lot of my questions about her future with Euric.

All this was set in the beautiful, historic and mystic Tinatgel in Cornwall. This was a wonderful story to get lost in.





Friday, 21 September 2012

Review:


Wicked Embers
By Candace Bowen Early

~ Adult fiction, Paranormal romance, Fantasy,~
 
Paperback, 280 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Rhemalda Publishing
 
 
* * * * out of 5 stars
 
 
 
 
 
The Blurb: (via Goodreads)
 
It’s been one year since Bronwyn Chase left the modern world behind, and an ancient evil is stirring in Cornwall ….

Bree Peltier is a skeptic. She doesn’t believe in mystics or witches. Between keeping up with her university studies and falling in love with her archaeology professor, her life is complicated enough. When a vengeful spirit possesses her childhood friend and goes on a killing spree, she is forced to re-examine her beliefs. The spirit is out to destroy the descendants of Bronwyn, and Bree is the only one who can stop it. If she believes.

Bree is a mystic. If she doesn’t embrace her birthright, she could lose everyone she has ever loved. If she does embrace it, she could lose her soul mate.

My Review:

Note: Won an ebook copy through "Now is Gone"

Erm, I have a confession - This is the sequel to "Spur of the moment"...  Just this one arrived first. So; whilst I was waiting for that one to arrive, I thought I would just take a quick look at this one.. maybe a page or so to see how it read and I erm, didn't stop reading! So I have kind of done this a bit backwards but I think it says a lot for the authors writing style.
There were references to the previous book, but it doesn't mean that you have read the first one to be able to fully appreciate the story; it was a solid piece of work in it's own right (Phew - good job really after my impatience to get on and read it!)

In the first sitting I think I managed about 40% which is a huge amount to someone who's reading time is in small windows; the pages just kept turning - the story flowed and it was very easy to settle into the pace of the book.
I thought the characters were well done, though Bree (protagonist) did irritate me at points. I know she was an emotional character and a lot happened to her to warrant her reactions, but it seemed to me she was crying through the whole book.

I absolutely loved that the author set the book in Cornwall, and in the beautiful Tintagel. It's probably one of my most favourite places - St Nectan's Glen is beautiful. So I could place the characters in their setting. There is a lot of magic, history and folk law surrounding the place so this was a fantastic setting for the story.

I am not a huge fan of romance, I am wary of it in books as I feel it can be over done, but personally, the romance works very well in this. 'Reece' not only acts as the love interest but a source of strength for Bree which helps move the story along.

The ideas and concepts for the story are interesting; I particularly liked the way the author explored the ideas of souls and the after life.

The ending is a bit... Well I don't want to say anything to spoil it but it wrapped things up and was actually quite satisfying.

I had trouble deciding how to rate this book. I was swaying between a three and a four star rating as there were parts that didn't quite flow or irritated me. I settled for a four overall as it touched on very interesting ideas and was generally a good read.

I would recommend this to people who like a paranormal romance and, are looking for something entertaining that that can be read quite quickly.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday #12

 













It's been awhile, I've missed some weeks of TMST but I've finally got my act together and I am joining in this week... Hurrah! And not a moment too soon as Cambria will be taking a break from TMST in October.

For those who don't know, Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Cambria Herbert.

Each week Cambria thinks us up a question for us to answer and we all post our answers and link up. Simple; but a wonderful way for bloggers and readers to get to know each other.

On with the Q!




This weeks question:


Do you like to read stand alone novels – why or why not? What is the last stand alone novel that you read?

My answer:

Oh yes sir-ree I do!

I love to read. That's the long and short of it. The only thing that matters, is if the author can reach me through their characters, voice and story.

It's strange. Before blogging, I would read mostly stand-alone novels, but since blogging and getting to read some very interesting and up-to-date booky-type blogs, I have more time for, and interest in, series books.

That being said, I sometimes have trouble with books as a series. They can be great to start with only to fizzle out, or the writer can seem to "run out of steam". I know that I will probably get beaten with a book for saying this, but "The Hunger Games "was teetering on the edge of this. (Covers head awaiting flung paper backs)
Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed them, but by the end of book three, boy was I glad to get to the conclusion.

Sometimes a trilogy can really take a nose dive. And I mean, a really bad one. (My brother can vouch for this, he was reading a fantasy series, now I think they may end up as door stops or coasters....) They can start off great, have a long, boring middle and a lame, unbelievable ending. Thankfully, I haven't got any examples to date, it's either that, or the memory is so horrendous that I've blocked it out...

Source
You can find some real gems in stand alone titles. I like that you have the beginning, middle and end in your hands all at one and not have to wait for the next instalment. It's almost as bad when you are watching a season and they end on a cliff hanger - and you know that you have to wait a whole year for the next bit. I'm not the most patient of people...

The most recent stand alone novel was Inkarna by Nerine Dorman (read all about it here)
It. was. Awesome! Loved it. It was something completely different an the author concluded it beautifully.




This is what I think of when I think of great, stand alone titles that I have enjoyed.

 







Monday, 17 September 2012

On My Kindle

I thought I would do a fast-booky-type-post, dedicated to what's new on my Kindle (Maybe this will turn into a regular meme thing, but I don't like to run with something until I feel I can commit properly...

I have been collecting some interesting titles for Kindle (and probably some not so great ones, but you have to take a risk to find the great freebies) and so I have some interesting titles to share with you guys; but what better place to start then ebooks that I have won?!

happy black moon outrayj by 10binary - With the colors around it. It's easy to see why the face is happy.

I know, I know; it's rather like tooting ones horn, but hey, this doesn't happen to me very often so I'm ready to toot a bit...

Toot-Toot-Tooooooot!

I was lucky to win these over at Now is Gone; run by the lovey Katy Zozaeva (go check it out, if you love books then you will certainly enjoy taking a look around!)


Three interesting titles that I am really looking forward to getting into... Next question... When am I going to get time to read them all???

Ah well, I'm sure I will squeeze them in somewhere... Sleep is not that important right?!


Best-selling author Bronwyn Chase never quite fit in with the 21st century. On a publicity trip to New York City, a mysterious woman claiming to be a mystic from Bronwyn’s past gives her a silver knights spur. Asked to save Euric, a man she never knew existed, Bronwyn finds herself transported to 12th-century Cornwall. Landing at the feet of an entranced Euric, she discovers the instant connection she feels to him comes from a midsummer rite gone horribly awry on the eve of her birth. Forced to face a dark Wicca who plans to use Euric for her own nefarious ends, Bronwyn summons her own mystical birthright to free him.




Bree Peltier is a sceptic. She doesn’t believe in mystics or witches. Between keeping up with her university studies and falling in love with her archaeology professor, her life is complicated enough. When a vengeful spirit possesses her childhood friend and goes on a killing spree, she is forced to re-examine her beliefs. The spirit is out to destroy the descendants of Bronwyn, and Bree is the only one who can stop it. If she believes.



Lust. Anger. Hate. Desire. Love. Happiness. Joy. iFeel.

Liv Christianni is isolated, alone, tortured and withdrawn, saddled with the torrential downpour of the world’s emotions. Accepting of her providence Liv has lost all hope, until one day fate steps in and spins the course of her life like a spiralling top. Hunted by a Spirit Stalker, Liv is forced to gain control of herself and her surroundings, threatened by the touch of her immortal love; she must find a way to survive both physically and emotionally as her reality is shaken up like dice on a Craps table. Can she find the courage to accept her true self? Can she love unconditionally cognisant of the condemning consequences? Can she rise from the ashes to become the person she was always meant to be?




*Reviews will follow soon guys, any you like the look of/going to add to your own reading list? Anyone read any of these? What did you think?!
Thanks for taking a look!*


 

Saturday, 15 September 2012

REVIEW


Inkarna

By Nerine Dorman

~ Supernatural, Mythology, Horror, Occult, Reincarnation~

Paperback, First, 297 pages
Published June 15th 2012 by Dark Continents Publishing

* * * * * out of five stars


The Blurb (via Goodreads)

Ashton Kennedy wasn't a nice guy. He cheated on his girlfriend, knocked up a powerful drug lord's sister, and abused vast quantities of illegal narcotic substances. Whoever ran him over with a big shiny SUV was doing the world a favour. His very male, tattooed body is the last place Elizabeth Rae Perry--a member of an ancient Egyptian cult--expected to reincarnate in, instead of the three-year-old girl she'd been promised.

Not only must she now come to terms with her new existence in the body of a disagreeable man, and clean up the mess he made of his life, she also has to unravel the mystery of why House Adamastor's chapter house is standing empty and find a way to protect a dangerous secret she had no idea she was supposed to keep. As if fate couldn’t deal her another blow, she has also attracted the attention of a malicious and potentially dangerous ghost. And to top it all off, she must deal with the consequences of finding love in a most unexpected place.



My Review

Wow.

This was a total shot in the dark; take a risk read. I have just joined NetGalley and was looking through the catalogue. Inkarna had an interesting looking cover and said “read now” ... So I did!

The opening line reads:

“ Tomorrow will be the first time that I die...“

Result? Hooked.

I started reading this with no background knowledge of book or author. I didn’t read the blurb and I didn’t allow myself to read any other reviews. This was just me and how the book made me feel whilst reading it.

There are many strands to the story. The obvious journey to discover why Lizzie hasn’t woken up in the body of the girl that was originally planned, the angry ghost of Ash (wouldn’t you be slightly ticked if someone was in your body?) The romance between Ash (Lizzy) and Marlise and add to that the background of Egyptian mythology and an inscription that could see souls severed and lost forever, well, then you have a wonderful concoction for a story that sits with you long after you have finished the last page!

Initially, it took me a little while to find my footing within the story. The language and style of voice made me feel that I might not be able to find my pace etc, but as I slowly started to understand what was going on the voice became easier to accept. Thanks to Nerine Dorman’s clear and informative writing, this only took a couple of pages and it turns out that the voice was very well suited to the character.

The ideas/concepts behind the story were very intriguing, and not something that I have come across. I am very interested in the idea of reincarnation but this story takes this concept a stage further with an 80 year old woman (Lizzy) being reincarnated in the body of a 21 year old man (Ash) ...By accident.

It turns out that Ash (who had inhabited the body before) was a bit of an unpleasant character to say the least and Lizzy has to face all that comes with her new body, including those who are not so happy to see the bloke walking around again. (Yikes)

The story was set in Africa, and I was unsure as how I was going to take this in as someone who has never been, but the author was excellent at setting up a scene, so I could visualise places; or at least have a sense of the terrain the characters were travelling in.

I very much enjoyed how Dorman develops Lizzy and her voice within Ash. She combines these characters slowly, and as a reader we observe how Lizzy takes on more of Ash’s behaviours and lingo.

I also found the relationship between Ash (Lizzy) and his girlfriend fascinating. Obviously, being a woman before and remembering this, Lizzy has to disentangle thought and emotion and follow her heart.

I thought the author moved very well between characters – with a balanced use of speech and description. If I was to be at all critical of this, it would be to say there were a few moments where I was wishing the story along a little quicker, but I genuinely feel this was probably more down to my impatience and the need to find out what happened next.

And I can honestly say that the ending felt very satisfying; it left me wondering if the author will consider a sequel to the story.

If you like mythology, the supernatural and something that offers something different, then Inkarna will blow you away with its cast of fleshed out characters and a rollercoaster of story.

 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Mumma On the Run!

*UPDATE*

Woman running by laobc - A silhouette of a woman running.
 
 
After my last post of woe, I thought I would blog about a much more positive aspect of my life right now, and that is my attempt to get some form of fitness into our lives and be a better example to our children.

I looked at my Mumma on the Run page, knowing full well that I hadn't updated it in awhile, but it was still surprising how long it has been. My last entry is July, but hand on heart, I have been keeping up with my running and have managed to go a couple of times each week.

Keeping it moving

I started out on about two minutes, by the end of those two, teeny-weeny minutes, it felt like my lungs were on fire!(Embarrassing much?) But now I am up to twelve, solid minutes and it feels great... Nah, maybe not "great"...
I feel ridiculous running round the neighbourhood, (I'm paranoid that people are pointing and laughing..) I swear I jiggle where I shouldn't jiggle and, by the time I get back to the house I'm a sweaty, exhausted mess. But I feel proud of myself! I've also lost around 5lb (Oh yeah - fist pump!)
#

 Which isn't as much as I would like but slow and steady means I'm more likely to keep it off.

#
Change the attitude...


 
Little Life Changes

It's no all about exercise of the body, it's also about the mind and how I feel about food in general. I've never been 'big' but this is probably the biggest I have been. And quite frankly? It sucks.
When I was pregnant with my second, I hold my hands up, I don't think it was all baby weight if you catch my drift. It was more about comfort eating.

So I've been taking steps:
  1. Cut the snacking. Especially at night time Sounds obvious, but it was hard to do... Tuck the kids up an denjoy the peace witht a cuppa and a snack right?!
  2. Not buying the snacks in the first place - sticking to shopping list... Mostly... Oooh, chocolate buttons are on offer...
  3. Reducing portion sizes... Step away from the left over pasta...
  4. Having breakfast - helps to kick start metabolism
  5. Running a couple of times is pointless if the rest of the time I'm sitting on my a$$... So have increased daily activities - including more walking. If I can make it without the car I do, I park further away from destinations where possible/sensible with two kiddies in tow etc
  6. Keeping hydrated with water... I'm so rubbish at this one...

Goals and Rewards

Goal setting also helps to keep me motivated. I weigh myself each month, this way I can set weight targets without being obsessed by the scales.
And now I have conquered twelve minutes, the next step is to extend my circuit a tiny bit more. It's about realistic goals. If something doesn't work then I just scale it back and try again.

And rewards? Well, I have to decide that of I can reach a certain weight by the end of this month, then I will treat myself to a new pair of running trainers.

What makes me smile, is that my healthier life-style is already having a positive effect on my family. My husband and I are more conscience about what we eat, (whilst being realistic) and our 2.5 year old told us that he wanted to wear his "exercise trousers" (his jogging bottoms) so he could run like mummy... he then ran around the living room....

Heehee!

Anyone else doing the running thing?! Would love to hear any tips on keeping fit; or easy recipe links for meal ideas!

Keep happy peeps, thanks for readin'!