A blog about life - the good, the bad, the people, the books, the games, and coffee.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Book Thursday: Will by Christine Bernard

A book by a local author - yay for Saffa's :D

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Blurb


No power comes without a price! A supernatural thriller that will make you wonder, "What would I have done?"

What would you do if you stumbled across a magic eight ball with all the answers? Would you ask it for lottery numbers? Would you ask about the love of your life? That’s what thirty-six-year-old Will Pearce did. However, nothing good comes without a price. Will learns that with the good, comes the bad. How much is Will prepared to pay for the answers that he seeks?

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My thoughts

A dark and twisty 4 star read.


I'm starting to wonder if Christine Bernard just doesn't like people ;) Her poor, poor characters are always being tortured. They're given a taste of the good life, and then bam...she pulls the rug out from under them.

I enjoyed this story more than Unravel. And it's far more dark and twisty. So worth the read.

*I'm a lucky fish and on the author's ARC team*

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

A look at the year that was 2017

So Zoe used these questions, to look back on her year. They're pretty great, so I'm totally making use of them :p


WHAT’S BEEN THE BEST AND WHY?

1. What are you most proud in terms of what you achieved, accomplished or brought into being this year – in life and work?

The biggest thing is that I made it another year with keeping K all good, healthy and happy.

Aside from that, I finished my thesis. Which was all kinds of scary, and is quite surreal actually...it's so so strange to me that I actually got it done.

Another thing was getting the group together that makes our #Fab5. While Zoe, was the only one who did all 30 days of yoga the group became and is so so much more than what it started out as being. I'm a very, very lucky fish to have these great women in my life.

2. What did these achievements or actions in turn make possible – for you, your family, your organisation, your financial situation, and your health and well-being, for others? Why did they matter so much to you?

Well, happy, healthy kid just makes everything easier...so ummm it made it possible for me to focus on my thesis?

The thesis mattered so much because I'd tried that M thing before and it didn't go well. So you know getting it done this time moved that enormous sense of failure to the either. It's also meant that I need to really challenge the way I see myself. Which is not an easy thing at all.

In terms of the group, it's given me belonging, fitting in. And as mentioned before, my sense of self has been challenged by it.

3. What makes your heart warm just to think about it today?

Hugs, seeing the group, and actually finishing my thesis.


WHAT’S BEEN THE HARDEST?

4. What event or experience represented the “worst” of the year, and why exactly?

My thesis - yes, I know I said it was a good thing, but it also represents the supervisor struggles. And so so much of my self doubt and impostor syndrome. I'm still waiting for my mark, and am convinced it's a failure of beyond epic proportions, it's going to prove true what I've always know. Additionally, things around it and around writing it up half opened my eyes to a lot of things I put up with from some in the name of friendship. 

5. What action(s) did you take that you want to eradicate from your behaviour forever?

Therapy. Always therapy to help me figure out how to do things better. Well therapy and the right people. The right people make all the difference.

6. What makes you feel ashamed and “less than,” or even toxic to others?

I hope that I'm not toxic to anyone. The less than is hard to answer, because my default tends towards being less than. It shades everything I do and how I interact with others. So whenever things go odd, it's my fault...which is not ideal. Shame comes from not handling things with others in the way that's best for them.

7. What brings tears of unhappiness and feelings of shame when you think about it?

The way I speak to myself/think about myself. How I let people who are supposed to be friends treat me in ways that I don't deserve, because I think of myself as less than/unworthy. That I just couldn't make eating better and exercise stick...it then keeps on feeding into the never ending cycle of "not enoughness" that is me.


WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCENTUATE AND AMPLIFY IN YOUR LIFE NEXT YEAR?

8. What outcomes or achievements do you want to build on next year?

Totally want to build on/keep the happy and healthy Keiden thing going. Build on from the thesis into a PhD, some article, getting an academic career going. Do better by Jerall, and my people.

Next year is to be the year of positive transformation - mentally and physically.

9. What parts of yourself do you wish to expand and strengthen, and let out in the world?

Ummm, caring in a way that doesn't hurt me. Kindness not tempered by my cynicism would be a great thing to do too.

10. What role models and supportive people do you want to connect with more deeply?




My therapist and my people. 

Monday, 25 December 2017

Friday, 22 December 2017

Five for Friday

We're officially on holiday. It's stay-cation, which works just fine for us.

I'm pondering a year of blogging come the first of Jan. I know I can do it, but I'm not to sure how much I want to do.

Today, I found out that nearly eight weeks after handing in my thesis for examination there has been no word from the external examiner. This is with my mark supposed to have been given to my department within six weeks. So, more added onto the frustration pile.

I don't think that I'm ready for K being four. Especially, considering his behaviour of late. It's ridiculous just how much he doesn't listen to me, and how often I need to repeat things. 

I just don't understand people at all. I don't know if I ever will.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Book Thursday: Snowbound with an Heiress

Oh look another review :p Almost like I love reading or something ;)
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Snowbound with an HeiressSnowbound with an Heiress
by Jennifer Faye
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:
Stranded in the snow—together!

Heiress Serena Winston has gone off the grid for the holidays! She's staying in a remote cabin in the Alps, looking to get away from it all…

Since losing his wife, Christmas isn't the same for TV presenter Jackson Bennett. He goes where the work takes him, this time to Austria. But when an American beauty runs him off the road in a blizzard and a storm leaves them stranded, it seems like a disaster. Until their time alone turns into an unexpected Christmas to remember!

You can find Snowbound with an Heiress on Goodreads
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Review

This is a 3 star sweet read for Christmas. 

To get my quibble out of the way, the title is a misleading - while the heroine is an heiress, that's not why she was off hiding from the world.

What I really enjoyed was the way in which the characters worked with each other to make sense of what was going on between them. Well it didn't always work - the thing that pushes them apart an example thereof, they did give each other understanding of why they behaved the way they did.


Friday, 15 December 2017

Five for Friday


So I have 18 physical books in my TBR pile. I want to finish reading them for the end of the month. So far, I've finished two of them...so progress is happening.

Speaking of books, I'm thinking that my goodreads challenge for next year should just be 100 books. I know that I can, and will read more but I don't want to turn reading, that is all about taking the moment to enjoy into a speed through it all thing.

The Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar is amazing. Keiden - well Jerall and I too - are having fun with it. Much better than a daily chocolate - for Keiden, I'd take the chocolate :p

Speaking of my goose, he's dealing with some big allergy stuff. So far he's been great with taking his meds. It helps that he's reasoning is better, and that he sees Jerall and I take daily antihistamines. 

He also now has a base for his single mattress. So far so good, he's loving and has taken to reading his books there.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Book Thursday: Right Under Your Nose

One of the ways I manage to sustain my reading habit is by doing the read and review thing. Today's post is one of those.
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Right Under Your NoseRight Under Your Nose
by Holly Tierney-Bedord
Genre: Chick-lit

Blurb:

Ariadne Daniels seems to have it all: A successful career as a pastry chef, a Victorian home in a trendy neighborhood, and her dedicated boyfriend Scott who she's been with for years.

Her life is great until the day she stops by Scott's apartment to surprise him and finds out that he's not so dedicated to her after all. Shocked and too depressed to celebrate, she decides to skip Christmas. Her best friend Jess does his part to convince her otherwise, but Ariadne's determined to wallow in her misery, at least until spring.

Life has other plans for her, however. Some helpful meddling from a new friend at a local bookstore, along with some questionable behavior on the part of Jess’s girlfriend, turn Ariadne’s ho-hum holiday plans on their head.

You can find Right Under Your Nose on Goodreads

You can buy Right Under Your Nose here:
- Amazon
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Review

This is a 2.5 read really, but it's given a boost by being one of those reads, that are best read during Christmas...magic just fits better now. As far as the story and characters go, it's the run of the mill friendship with romantic hints, but always happening at the wrong moment.

I'm not a fan of how the love interest treated the person he was with - even if she was not on the up and up.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Five for Friday: Happy Things Edition

So here's the thing, I like hats...a lot, but I've not quite been brave enough to go with it. Until last week. Last week I bought myself this wonderful big hat, and wearing it has been amazing.

Another something making me happy, is getting my 2018 diary. It's a red bundle of delight, especially because I managed to find the layout that works best for me - week to view on the left, note page on the right.

Keiden enjoying his first advent calendar, it's all the delicious feelings of awww. 

While this time of year can get all busy, busy...there are still these perfect pockets of joy to be spotted. It's all kinds of happy making.


This song, is just hitting a happy note for me.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Book Thursday: Rescuing Prince Charming


Rescuing Prince Charming banner

This is my stop during the book blitz for Rescuing Prince Charming by Edward Hoornaert. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 28 November till 11 December. See the tour schedule here.

Introduction price!
For a limited time only Rescuing Prince Charming is available to purchase for only 1.99! You can buy your copy here on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes and Smashwords.
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Rescuing Prince CharmingRescuing Prince Charming (Alien Contact for Idiots #4)
By Edward Hoornaert
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 4 December, 2017

Blurb:
Dusty Johnson, a self-styled ordinary, everyday woman, responds with extraordinary heroism to saboteurs trying to bomb the prototype of Earth's first starship. She wants to return to anonymity, but her moment of courage propels her ever deeper into danger that tears the scabs off her dark past—and thrusts her into the arms of the unattainable man of her dreams.

Reese Eaglesbrood, an alien prince, yearns to restore his tattered reputation by guiding the starship project to completion, but his fascination with the unassuming heroine threatens to undermine his fragile authority. Shunning Dusty is necessary, yet unthinkable—and when the saboteurs strike again, she may be his only ally against Earth's darkest enemies.

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Review

This is a 3/5 star read for me.

On the surface of it this story should have everything going for it, but it didn't quite hit the sweet spot to get four stars. I liked Dusty, especially the ways in which she battled with being a heroine...yet there were parts of her characterisation that rung hollow. No way did she not pick up on some of the things she missed. 

Another reason why this didn't get to four stars - the overplayed trope of younger sibling needing to atone for something, with the atonement meaning he must ignore who he truly is.

I did enjoy the manipulations of the "bad guys". And am intrigued by the backstories of the guard pair.

Worth the read? Yes. Would I read the rest of the series? Depends on which character's story it is.

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Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Rescuing Prince Charming. These are the prizes you can win:
- Grand prize: e-book copies of the other three books in this series: Alien Contact for Idiots, Alien Contact for Kid Sisters and Newborn
- 2 winners win an e-book of their choice from any of the following three books: Alien Contact for Idiots, Alien Contact for Kid Sisters and Newborn

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

What now? Life post thesis

Photo by Chris Karidis on Unsplash
Life post thesis is so so strange. I don't know what to do with myself...and there's no guide book for what to do. Why can't life come with a guide?

So it's been about 5 weeks since submission, and it's actually only really now sinking in that I have submitted. My MA is done...and life without it is so strange. This has been a significant part of my life for so long - almost three years. There was the year spent figuring out which way to go, then the diploma year, which was get it all going and this year.

That's years of everything I do or don't do being directly related to thesis progress. Years where a part of my self has been defined by what I'm working on, how to understand it, how to fund it...literally every single thing has tied back to it.

And now it's gone...and I just don't know what to do with myself. Enjoy the free time is quite often something I get told, but how do I enjoy the free time. It seems endless, it seems meaningless without it being free time from something.

I don't know how to enjoy free time properly anymore. Actually is there such a thing? I mean I could work on that fitness journey thing...but folks, it just isn't clicking as the right thing for me right now. 

The slowing down of the year isn't helping much either. Immediately post submission was the get PhD plans going push...and the expansion of my idea is now sitting with potential supervisors. I'm waiting on some feedback before submitting applications. I'm waiting for thesis feedback before even trying to figure out article writing/submissions.

It just feels like a massive cycle of wait, wait and wait some more. Why does no one warn you about this? It's ridiculous how you're just supposed to cope and adjust from this all encompassing, intensive stress filled driven life to...nothing. 

It's all just nothing. Nothing and waiting...made worse by your actual capacity to really handle anything at a low. There is barely anything in the well of spoons...so the wanting to do something is hampered by the inability to do as well. 

I wonder if this is just another part of what drives us all to endlessly consume, consume, consume...an inability to find the right way to replenish ourselves. To be our self. To just be. That is another question as well, why are we so uncomfortable with just being...and not having plans?

Let's chat about teacher presents

So here's the thing, I had no idea teacher presents was a thing until recently. Growing-up there was never anyone given gifts to anyone - there just wasn't money for such thing. Sure there were amazing teachers, but the best I could do was write them a note.

And then I started reading mommy blogs, and I was all hold on, what is this think about teacher presents? In no way am I saying that the people we entrust our children to, the ones who can help keep the flame of learning bright don't deserve all our thanks. But, I've noticed that teacher presents has just become another thing that reinforces certain ways of thinking and being...ways of thinking and being that can hurt.

What is the point of giving a gift to your child's teacher? To express thanks, but does this mean that we automatically need to reach for our wallets? Is there no way to express our appreciation for all that the person does not automatically mean going to a shop? 

While there are those who spend a lot of time on finding the right gift for the right person, not all of us invest that in gift giving. And what are we teaching our children, that the only way to say thank you for something profound is with money? Surely, as people we are so much more than just what we can spend on others.

And what about those children at nursery - like my Keiden. There is more than his class teacher, and the two assistants who are part of his day and school experience. Every adult at his school knows who he is, and he who they are. How dare we ignore those who focus on the kitchen or buildings and grounds? All of those people matter to your child's experience at school.

I have no clear answer, but I do know that it's important to me that the person I want Keiden to be recognizes all who make a difference to his day. And that while giving gifts is lovely, what's important is the recognition and appreciating of what someone has done. How you make someone feel is far more important than what you give them.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Five for Friday: Quick Thoughts Edition

Today, Keiden started opening his first ever advent calendar. We got the Lego Star Wars one...it's amazing. He has though told us that tomorrow we'll open day 2, 3, 4 and 5 :0 Hopefully, we make the one a day thing work out.

Sunny skies, great for the mood...less so for my feet that are always hot.

Good friends are the best.

Applications are such work, but then some reference letters just make you want to cry.

How is it December already? This year seems to have done a big woosh-by.


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Me in a nutshell: I game, read, tweet, enjoy good food, have bouts of red pen rage and I'm a coffee snob.

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