Thursday, 25 July 2013

Favourite Books of July


It would appear that I found my reading mojo...

According to my Goodreads, I'm currently reading my 10th book of the month. Who knows what has spurred me on, maybe it's a life thing?! When things aren't going right many people bury their heads in the sand... Me? I prefere to bury mine in a book! There's nothing like a bit of escapism to get you through.

So, here just a few of my favourites of the past couple of months:

PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)

The Blurb: (Via Gooodreads)

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.


**** out of *****

*Protagonist is believable, sulky teen at times but shows strength. Loved her 'lingo' - Really felt she was a teen talking in those pages...
*Interesting concepts/ideas
*Story flows smoothly
*Characters intersting and mostly well fleshed out, some I would have liked more - i.e. Evie's best 'mermaid' friend
*Want to read the next instalment

Game of thrones (A song of Ice and Fire book 1)
by George R. R. Martin

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

The Blurb (via Goodreads)

The first volume of A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. GAME OF THRONES is now a major TV series from HBO, starring Sean Bean.

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne


**** out of *****

*Incrediable... Breath taking scenes
*Staggering amount of work into character backgrounds/creating a whole word setting
*Not sure if I would have kept up with who's who without the help of watching the series...

Demonblood (A Demon Made Me Do It) by Penelope King
*Found free on Kindle*

A Demon Made Me Do It (Demonblood, #1)

The Blurb (Via Goodreads)

Some girls share clothes, a bathroom, or a bedroom. Seventeen-year-old Liora Greyson has to share, too. Only she shares her body--with a demon.

Liora just wants to survive her final year of high school unscathed, her dark secret intact. But the walls she’s carefully constructed to keep people away crack wide open once she meets the sexy and mysterious Kieron, and he lights her world on fire. She can’t let him know she transforms into a demon named "Lucky" at nightfall—a demon with an entirely separate personality who passes out Torment, Justice, and Revenge like Halloween candy.

Turns out Kieron is the one who should be afraid once Lucky discovers his true identity and motivations. Liora wants to love him, but Lucky thinks he’s public enemy number one. And having a demon with a vendetta show up during a romantic date puts a serious crimp in any relationship.

Fighting your demons is one thing. Having one that fights back, messes with your guy, and leaves you with nasty hangovers is quite another.

Being bad has never been so good...


**** out of *****

*Was very well written with an intersting concept: Liora - Human - has body through the day. Lucky - Demon - has body through the night. Characters had completely different personas.
*Interesting characters, well fleshed out.
*Humourous, witty dialogue
*Demons, romance, action, adventure, sexy, incubus hellhound 'Bones'... (Swooooon)
*I've already read the next book "Fire with Fire" :0)

3rd Sight by Ian Woodhead

3rd Sight: A Horror Novel

The blurb (Via Goodreads)

Adrian Winters is unaware that a newborn demon has chosen him to be its watcher. The one who links its evil to this world. With time running out, will Adrian be able to save himself before his family and friends, the people he loves, become mere sustenance for the monster inside of him? Or will he be forced to witness their gruesome deaths?


**** out of *****

*If you dont like scary, gory stories... best leave this one alone...
*Very clever "out of mind sequences"... what's real?
*Gritty, rugged characters
*Shocking, absorbing and page turning
*The only reason this book failed to get five stars out of me was the ending... Well rounded but for me personally, finished too fast. May be there is room for a sequel here?

Sunday, 17 February 2013


172 Hours on the Moon

By Johan Harstad

~Si-Fi, horror, supernatural, creeeeeepy~

Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 5th 2012 by ATOM (first published 2008)
1907411518 (ISBN13: 9781907411519)
Edition Language
Original Title
Darlah - 172 timer på månen
* * * * * out of five stars

The Blurb: (Via Goodreads)
It's been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA's unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space--and change their lives forever.
Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band's ticket to fame and fortune.
Midori believes it's her way out of her restrained life in Japan.
Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.
It's the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space... no one is coming to save them.
In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true.

My Review:
I am very selective and wary about giving anything five stars. (Especially when that said something has such a mixed review going for it) But the way 172 Hours on the Moon captured my attention and imagination, it leaves me little choice.  However, I just wanted to start with getting one niggle out of the way. Throughout the story the whole concept of NASA sending teenagers to the moon seemed way over the top and unbelievable. If you can get past this and just accept the fiction as it is, then this is definitely a book worth the reading.
Whilst browsing my local discount book shop, they  had one of those "three for a fiver" offers and 172 Hours appeared semi- interesting. I thought the cover work was very well done and after reading the story even more so.  The image of a girl looking down at clasped hands with her reflection looking at the audience with somewhat of a scowl, is very intriguing. Offering that the girl is not all what she appears to be.
I really enjoyed how the book was put together; using imagery from space missions and floor plans of the space station on the moon. As a reader, I can sometimes find conjuring up places in my mind quite difficult, often forgetting the layout and where characters are placed, so this was really helpful to me personally.
though some people have written that they felt the characters weren't very well written, i would have to disagree. The book introduced characters and backgrounds thoroughly and systematically.too much more and it would have been tedious. I felt the teens were really well described at the time of life they were experiencing. Their thoughts, emotion and reactions to situations were believable. The romance between characters was somewhat predictable, but also fit very well into the plot.
When I began reading, I have to admit that I was in two minds as to whether this book was going to be for me, but I really enjoyed the style of writing and the flow of the story unfolding.
Mia in particular stood out for me. More or less our heroine of the hour, but when I first started reading about her, I really didn’t like her. She was whining and selfish. Self-obsessed and down right irritating. But there were also strengths in her that the other characters needed and responded to.
I didn’t expect the level of horror in the book. But the moon proves to be the perfect setting. Dark and desolate. The intensity of the mood as the author adds more layers is perfect for growing fear.  Perhaps I was too closed mined when I first started reading, I mean; what else could a writer possibly bring to the table about Space other than little green men chasing the characters around the moon? I can’t go into much detail here in fear of spoiling it for other readers, but the horror in this story is woven into the plot very well.  They definitely find something up there and you really don’t want "that" making its way down here...  It’s chilling. I think what was very interesting about Harstand as a writer, is the way he built his work of fiction around snippets of fact. It gives the story... for want of better words... another level. 
What really gives this book five stars for me personally, was that it took me back to reading horror for the first time as a young reader. I was totally absorbed in the story and couldn’t put it down.
Quote:  Page 167 (Mia) “...This was followed by a thought – she had no idea where it had come from – but if forced its way into her consciousness and scared her to death: In space, no one can hear you scream.”
As a reader it is hard to find a book that gives a satisfying ending. With 172 Hours on the Moon, I was thrilled with the plot twists and and the finishing touches that Harstand provides his readers. I would say to anyone, give it a go. It might just surprise you. It did me!

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?!


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



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.

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...


What do you guys love about Autumn?!