Today, 7 January 2018, G and I were married after 18 years together. We decided it was about time and both of us are extremely happy. We had a lovely, intimate wedding at a church, followed by High Tea at a local, old manor house. It was a perfect day. And now we are Mr and Mrs. Couldn’t be happier.
I used to write book reviews for all the books I’ve finished. However, due to circumstances I could not control I haven’t done so for many months (even years).
I wrote the reviews for others to find and read, and hopefully give them a feel for what they might be in for. But I also did it for myself as it became a permanent record of what I had read and gave me the opportunity to look back and find out, again, if I enjoyed the book or not.
As it’s a new year, I feel it is the right time to try and start the habit again. Here’s my first review, it’s ultra short but, hopefully, that will change as I get back into the swing of things.
Magyk by Angie Sage
I’ve had this book on my bookshelf for some time. Like most of my books I bought it second hand from an opportunity shop. I can’t say, because I don’t know, why I left it so long to read but I’m glad I finally got around to doing so.
I wasn’t sure about it at the beginning. It wasn’t anything I could point my finger on, as the saying goes, but I felt uncertain about the characters to begin with. However, I soon came to like them or accept them as they were, and I wanted to know what would happen to them.
I liked how the book “finished”. By this, I mean I appreciated that the author didn’t leave me hanging by stopping the story in mid stride. The book could be said to be a stand alone story as I don’t feel I HAVE to read any more of the series.
However, although I feel I don’t have to, I want to. I want to revisit this world of Magyk and find out what else might be in store for its people. I intend to return to this series shortly.
Welcome to the New Year. Last year wasn’t the best for us, but 2018 is going to be so much better. G’s health WILL improve, I will continue to write and will publish the third and final book in The Miu Series, and life in general will provide us with reasons for laughter, love and happiness. This year is going to be great!
We saw the New Year in, however reluctant it may have been at the time (I really needed to go to bed, I was so tired). This morning I am heavy eyed, but the birds are singing and the world out there is sunny and otherwise quiet. Blue sky, warm sun, peace and quiet – the year has started well.
I have two New Year Resolutions that must be said “out loud”:
- This one has two parts: I will continue to write. I have been writing regularly for a few months now. Sometimes it is only a few hundred words, sometimes a few thousand. I put no pressure on myself and the manuscript is growing steadily. I’m pleased with the outcome so far. And, even better, I am approaching the end. The second part of this resolution is that, this year, I will publish book 3 of The Land of Miu, The Lions Gods.
- Due to the circumstances around G’s health, for the first time in my life I turned to emotional eating and have put on weight. This year, starting immediately, I will stop the emotional eating and I will lose the weight I’ve gained. I need to loose 10 kilo.
With that said, I would like to wish you a very happy New Year. I truly hope that 2018 is good to you and your family and that your life is happy, healthy and that you are surrounded by love and laughter.
I downloaded the WordPress app to my iPad in the hope it will be easier to post. However, I just saved a post and it threw formatting to the wind.
Will it again, with this post?
If it does, then I fear the app isn’t for me as I will not be happy with crazy formatting. Unfortunately, I can’t log in to the website right now for other reasons so the formatting will have to wait. But I am aware of it and will fix it when I can.
What a shame, the app would have been a good alternative. Never mind.
I notice my last post was written in April this year — five months ago. Seems a lot longer to me. Things continue to be difficult, draining, and I continued to not write.
However, thoughts of writing remain with me. I find myself looking at book covers and wondering if The Lion Gods or Domino Effect would suit them. Scenes of their plots play out in my mind. Character faces (how I imagined them when I wrote about them) pop up unexpectedly for a fleeting moment. Difficult scenes I need to write twirl around and fly away. I’ve even found myself on Pinterest reading writing tips and saving them to my writing board.
The urge to write is growing. I feel it will happen soon. It makes me happy to think and believe this to be true.
October will be the start of (another) new chapter for me. Between now and then I will move (again). When I unpack my belongings, which have been boxed up and stored away for over three years, I will hopefully be living in my forever home.
I intend to set up a writing space for myself. I have promised myself that when I get that space, I will write.
I will write!
Yes, I will write. My plan is to start with a short period of time, or a low word count. 10 minutes a day sounds good to start with. No pressure. Then I will allow myself to increase that to half an hour and eventually to an hour a day. The promise I made to myself does not go beyond that. One hour a day. No pressure. I want to write because I want to, because I have a story to share. Not because I have to.
Roll on October. 😀
Getting back into the swing of writing is a post written by Australian author Alison Tait. The title grabbed my attention and inspired me to write this post. Let me be honest, I haven’t written a thing in three years. Not a single word. In my defence I’ve had a lot on my mind, and I’m told I’ve been through multiple highly stressful situations during this time, however, in the past that’s when I write the most. But not this time.
I’m starting to find my feet and I have discovered over recent weeks I’ve thought about writing. Thinking and doing are two different things, I know that, but for me thinking is a step closer.
There are five things I really do enjoy. Well, maybe I should say, I used to really enjoy. They are, in no particular order:
- Researching my family tree
- Playing the PlayStation
- Taking long walks with G and our dog.
I’ve never stopped reading. However, I can’t say the same for the other things on my list. Over the last few months though, I’ve restarted four of the five things. The only thing left to restart is the writing. I want to start. I guess this post is the first step. I wrote the post. I acknowledge my desire. I now have to … write.
I’ll get back to you in relation to this.
Two years has passed since my last post. Two whole years, filled with so much I hardly know where to begin.
For now, I will settle for saying hello and doing some much needed housework around this website. I have already selected a new theme. I hope you like it. It suits my needs, but I think, in time, I’ll inject some colour into it to liven it up a bit. I will make some tweaks over the next few days, fix links, and some pages that seemed to have gone astray with the long neglect imposed on them.
Later, I will write a post to let you know what I’ve been through and where I’m headed. But not today. Today is the start of my new future. I’m told it can be anything I want it to be. I’m still thinking about it so I’ll let you know soon.
So, again, hello world. I hope you’re well and happy. What’s been happening?
Originally posted elsewhere on 4 March 2015.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The blurb: This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love. Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear.
A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly–she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.
My review: I started reading this book in August 2013, but didn’t finish it until February 2015. That’s right, it took 18 months. In fairness, I did have a lot happening in my life which was a contribution; but, having said that, I read numerous other books during this time.
When I started the book, I was drawn in and held. I enjoyed the character of Ayla. I was fascinated by her situation and interaction with the Clan. However, half way through the book I got bored. I was tired of the never ending descriptions and the long lessons on how plants and roots were used. Honestly, I didn’t care to know these things and found myself skimming whole paragraphs and then whole pages until something appeared to be happening in regards to the actual storyline again.
I put the book down one day and didn’t pick it up again for twelve months.
Then in February I decided that as I had read half the book, I really should finish it. I didn’t hate the storyline, I just didn’t enjoy the author’s ramblings. So once again I visited the world of Ayla. And, yes, I did skim the rambling parts and only concentrated on the storyline itself. When I did this, I was fine with the book and was happy to read it. Sadly, I was even happier to finish it.
Although I do own the second book in the series, I have no desire to read it.
The Clan of the Cave Bear is not awful, but it is not for me. I cannot recommend this book.
Originally posted elsewhere on 2 March 2015.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The blurb: Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life—and her relationship with her family and the world—forever.
At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Ordinary People.
My review: My mother has early dementia. Eight months ago I moved into the family home to become her primary carer. I would be lying through my teeth if I said it was easy, because it’s not. Sometimes I feel as if I cannot continue. Sometimes I feel as if I will let my father down (before he passed away I promised him that I would look after her). Often I feel I will let my Mum and myself down too.
Then, I was given Still Alice. What can I say? I needed to read this book, at this time. It helped me see things from Mum’s point of view. It showed me the confusion she must be experiencing, the total loss of control over her life, the sadness and grief she is going through. Yes, I include grief, because she is grieving her old self, just as I am grieving for that same person.
This book helped me to accept what was happening, and to find a new level of patience.
If you have a family member suffering from dementia then you should read this book too. But even if you don’t know anything with the disease you should still read the book because it is quite simply brilliant.
Alice is the top of her friend, in the prime of her life and then she starts forgetting things and getting confused. She thinks she’s working too hard, or perhaps she has started menopause, but she doesn’t think for a section she actually has something like early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. For heaven’s sake, she’s only 50.
But she does have the disease and once it takes hold, it progresses quickly. Before she knows it, she is forgetting how to get to the lecture room, let alone what she is meant to be lecturing. She is disorientated in places she has been visiting for decades. And the faces of people she should know are not recognisable.
Confused? Of course she is. Scared? Yes.
The story shows the effects of the disease as it slowly eats away her life. It shows how it affects the relationships she has with the people closest to her (family, friends and work colleagues).
It left me feeling sad for those affected and sad for the carers. But it helped me to understand and accept my own family’s situation.
Honestly, the book is brilliant and I couldn’t put it down. A must read.
Originally published elsewhere on 20 February 2015.
Sitting on the train beside a complete stranger, I was not surprised by the fact that the young girl was totally absorbed in her reading. I usually sat reading too, but my stop was approaching and I was readying myself to leave the train.
The girl closed the book with a huge sigh and we suddenly had eye contact.
“Good book?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied. “But I’ve just finished it and feel…” She searched for the right word. “…I don’t know, I want it to continue.”
“What’s the book called?” I ask.
“It was last book of The Hunger Games,” she replied, holding up the book for me to see. “If you haven’t read the series, you should. It’s brilliant!”
Strangely, I had been given a copy of the first book, The Hunger Games, some weeks before this recommendation. I had watched the movie several years beforehand. I could remember, vaguely, the plot, and knew I had enjoyed the movie, but the book (in most circumstances) is always better.
This short conversation on a train with a stranger inspired me to pick that book up and start reading it. Yesterday, I sat in my back yard and put the third book down with a big sigh, knowing how that young girl on the train felt, because I felt the same way.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The blurb: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.
My review: The book kept my interest. I enjoy reading about possible futures of our world. The concept of The Hunger Games wasn’t new, but quite captivating. Couple this with characters such as Katniss and Peeta, as well as a number of others, and it makes for an excellent read.
Some might find Katniss a little annoying, but my take on this is that we never truly know how we would react to any given situation, until we are thrust into it. Because of this, I was willing to accept Katniss’ behaviour for what it was and just enjoy the story.
I found the story to be well plotted, emotional and full of twists and turns. And it made me want to grab book two and continue reading, and that is exactly what I did.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The blurb: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
My review: The story picks up shortly after the first book ends. I felt a little disconnected to begin with, but soon got back into the storyline, and characters. To win the games and then have to go through what they went through would leave me feeling confused and untrusting too.
I don’t want to give too much away. But the Games in this book was a lot shorter and in some ways I felt it was a little rushed. However, I guess the author didn’t want the book to be too repetitive or a copy of book one. Again, I accepted that decision.
The characters continued to speak to me. I enjoyed their stories, their interaction. I felt as if I knew them extremely well.
This book ended with a cliff hanger, which I am not a fan of. However, I already had the third book so kept reading, but feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have the book ready to go.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The blurb: “My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.”
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Though she’s long been a part of the revolution, Katniss hasn’t known it. Now it seems that everyone has had a hand in the carefully laid plans but her.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay – no matter what the cost.
My review: I have mixed feelings about this book. The plot unfolded nicely and the characters blossomed, so to speak. Yet, the tone of the story was different, darker. The story was more gruesome.
Where the story goes is not surprising. When I sit down and think about it, the author had given plenty of clues along the way. There was no need to be shocked, but it left me feeling incredibly sad for the two main characters (Katniss and Peeta). In fact, I actually shed a tear I felt so sorry for them.
After I read the final words of the book and put it down, I thought about what had happened and where the characters ended up for a very long time. And then, later, I realised I miss reading about them and that, dear readers, told me everything.
The books left an impression and I enjoyed them immensely.
I recommend you read them all to get the full effect. You will not be disappointed.