Posted in Life Adventures

Gratitude and New Year Post

While sometimes I push against posts that seem to be ‘obligatory’ I’ve always appreciated the gratitude and fresh start posts of the New year.

While I doubt anyone can deny that 2020 was indeed a dumpster fire of a year, I am well aware of how lucky I am and have been throughout the year. Yes, bad stuff happened. Yes, I ended up in tears, Yes, my anxiety spiked. Yes, I could focus on all the bad stuff. But I don’t want to focus solely on that. I want to make sure I remember the things I have smiled about, the happy tears, the connections I’ve made, and the overcoming of real hurdles – emotional, physical, psychological .. the whole shebang.

  • To my family – extended, immediate, blood, and beyond blood – thank you so much for all the love and support you have given me this year. To the help you have all so willingly offered; to pursue my dreams, to have a break, to remind me what I am already doing, when I let those dreaded ‘I can’t do this’ words slip from my lips.
  • To my writing tribes (many of you who have also become family) thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, skills, life, and writing lessons with such generosity and kindness.

This New Year coming is already looking to be a big one, which is both a little overwhelming and a lot exciting. After 6 months of pneumonia this past past, I am also focusing on positive health for the new year … fingers crossed.
I have 8 writing projects planned so far for 20201 – all at different stages, some small and others rather larger. I’m excited about each and everyone of them and while it seems like a lot (it is), with the help of my ever patient and supportive partner we have started renovating the office and taking my writing career to an excitingly serious level.

There are some priority goals I want to work on for next year, not so much with an end line but a progress and improvement for myself.

  • Improving my writers craft – this is an eternal goal. I never want to stop working on this craft. There is always something more to learn, something I can improve on.
  • Braving videos with more ease and comfort. In 2020 I did less than a handful but I am proud of having done any … all live videos – 2 author chats, and one book review … which leads me to the third goal ….
  • Becoming a more detailed and confident book reviewer (and doing regular video reviews)

Be Safe
Be Brave
Be Kind

Posted in Reading Adventures

December Book Reviews

I only managed 4 books this month, but I think that’s a pretty fair effort considering the craziness this month has been, even with the CoVid19 limitations. I’m embarking on doing more in-depth reviews … which has turned out to have a few spoilers … but I think I’ve marked the spoilers before I dive in and leave you unprepared.

Mirrorverse by Pamela Jeffs – Pamela Jeffs is a master of words and emotions. She has an incredible skill at pulling you directly into another world with just a few beautifully structured and emotive sentences. Mirrorverse is a brilliant example of the extreme talent and skill Jeffs has to offer with her writing.

Christmas in Mistletoe by Clare Lydon – What can I say, I’m a complete sucker for Clare Lydon’s wit, humour, and fabulous writing. There were some true laugh out loud moments, and a few lines that made me go pwhhaaaa at the emotional punch. It’s definitely a brilliant read to help you get into the shiny, sparkly Christmas feel … even if (or perhaps especially if) you are sweating in Australia and wishing to run through the Christmas tree farm in your shorts and singlet. Get in the festive season mood with another great romance from Clare Lydon.

The Setup by T.B Markinson – The setup is a delicious story from T.B Markinson. T.B Markinson has created characters that are complicated and real, even the ones you never meet. It was a bit of a shock to get into the story so quickly, being used to reading Markinson’s longer reads, but once I got over that it was all good.
I just adore the main character, Rory, to bits. The story is told from Rory’s point of view, an American moved to London for a two year work contract.

Her thoughts are adorable and her energy and buzz is infectious. Banter, as always, is top notch and the sex scenes are steamy and natural. It was again a shock when the book ended, because I wanted so much more. I’d love to read more of this world and get to meet some of the off the page characters. Some favourite laugh out loud lines:
 Couple my blunder with her one-word answer, and I had the urge to stand up and say, “This, ladies and gentlemen, is how not to make a first impression. Can you point out where I went wrong? Let’s learn from this together.”
 They tried to understand, but it was like explaining space travel to Jane Austen. Or so I imagined.
My expression hopefully conveyed my second language was lunatic.

Under a Falling Star by Jae – So pretend there are big huge flashing signs screaming spoilers … because I’ve tried to minimise the spoilers but can’t do it. So here goes. 
The good: oh my, this list is long. But I’ll put down my top points. From the brilliant ice Queen to the cursing cockatoo, the characters of Under a Falling Star were deep and complicated. The smoothness of writing and the story both make the entire book so easy to read. I’m also in love with Jae’s ability to create tension without the often overly frustrating and dramatic let’s break up because we don’t have one simple (although emotionally difficult) conversation that would clear up all miscommunications. The conversations especially at the start show perfectly that twisted inside where your tongue fights every word, but it flows to a natural rhythm of the story, without any questions of why didn’t they just …
A special note to Jae’s use of humour, it wasn’t on every page but I found myself cackle a few times particularly from the cockatoo:
 On her way to the door, she blew Toby a kiss. “Wish me luck.” “Fuck you,” the cockatoo warbled.
And the ice Queen herself as she began to thaw:
 The thought made her roll her eyes at herself. Oh, come on. What’s up with all this sappiness?
The bad: So this is only my personal preference, but damn I wanted to see Austen’s character flaw. She was a little perfect for me, and yet I still somehow adored her, I just feel like showing a weakness would have been nice. 
The magnificent: my favourite part of this book, without a doubt is the realistic changes and fundamental lack of changes in characters. Dee, the Ice Queen is still damn terrifying to those who have to deal with her wrath, even if she has learned to say please. Her hideous family still remain stuck in their ways and rejections, and don’t simply change overnight because their daughter stood up to their shitty abuse. 
Bonus question (if you can explain this adequately you get a cookie): How else do you pronounce Austen if not like the famous author? 

Be Safe
Be Brave
Be Kind