Torturing myself

I spent a good portion of my night thinking about the people in my life. I lost out on sleep and managed to get a mere 4 hours before I had to take boys to school.

Like many people, I have those that support me and those that don’t. I went through scenarios and battles that I should have either avoided or done more about. I have people who would go that extra mile for me, and who I would do the same…..and then I have others who can’t be bothered. People who put their own needs and feelings before others.

And I ask myself….why do I torture myself about it all?

Why do I constantly fret over who likes me and who doesn’t? Why do I put myself out there, just to feel rejection and hurt? I have been through some shitty stuff over the past few years, more than anyone should deal with in any one lifetime….and it has made me realise who I can count on 100% and who lets me down time and time again. I should turn away and not let them get to me, but it’s hard! I am going to start looking after me and mine. I will give the same amount of support to those who give it to me…..match support with support. And then see how long it takes before I hear any complaints….

I have a busy year ahead of me, and I want to focus on moving towards a brighter, future and career. I need to learn to shake the negative people off!

#Blogtour Naughty or Nice by Rachael Stewart

Naughty or Nice.png

Blogtour – Sunday 1st December

Hi all…

How are you all on the first festive day of December? I have one hell of a treat for you with this super hot, super sexy review… this was a story that pulled me in from the very start, making my heart race passionately with every turn of the page! For some, this may be TOO HOT! So please, handle with care!

As always, big thanks must go to the blog host and the author, who both allowed me to read and review this sizzling book.

Rachel of Rachels Random Resources – https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com

Rachael Stewart – www.rachaelstewartauthor.com

HOT! HOT! HOT!

I like my stories with a bit of spice….something fun and sexy, which had me begging for more…and by golly, this book had it in buckets!

xmas naughty or nice
Before I delve deeper into this pulse quickening story, lets get to know an author who has once again given us a story that is juicy to the last word!


About the Author

small profile

Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heart-warmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.

Despite a degree in Business Studies and spending many years in the corporate world, the desire to become an author never waned and it’s now her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she’s not glued to her laptop, she’s wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

Social Media Links –
Website: www.rachaelstewartauthor.com
Twitter: @rach_b52
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rachaelstewartauthor/


About the Book

naughtyornice

Naughty Or Nice

She’s setting the terms…

In business and pleasure!

Lucas Waring was my brother’s best friend—before he broke my heart and betrayed my family. Yet one glance from those dark, intense eyes, and that bolt of aching need returns. Now Lucas wants my business. But the nice Eva he knew is gone forever and naughty Eva wants her cake, and a taste of deliciously hot Lucas, too. Only my heart’s about to pull the biggest betrayal of all…

Purchase Links
Amazon –  https://mybook.to/NaughtyOrNice


My Review

I have said it before and I will say it again! Rachael Stewart never ever fails to brighten my days. Her stories ignite such passion and intrigue, and they really fire up my cold, dreary days.

This story is a fabulous, fun, sexy escape from the normality. We see two characters, divided by family feuds who cannot stay away from one another. Years have gone by since Eva last saw Lucas, the guy who won her heart when she was only 18; the guy who also broke that heart…..and yet her body reacts whenever she sees him.

Lucas sees the sister of his ex-best friend. The girl who he wanted, but couldn’t have. And now there is nothing standing in his way, and he wants what he deprived himself of all those years ago…..

But now, it is Eva who calls the shots…

This book had me wanting from the very first chapter. I read the pages greedily and hid myself away when the scenes got hot…. I couldn’t steer myself away from the drama as it unfolded and as much as I loved the ‘strong willed’ Eva, I knew that wanted nothing more than to feel Lucas’s love for her….and I wanted it for her too!

The scenes were written brilliantly….Rachael sure does know how to get people HOT under the collar! From the story building, the character interaction and juicy sex scenes….I was not left disappointed!


Conclusion

Sexy…. Hot… Dramatic… with two characters that I believed in. This was top notch Stewart work at its best! I look forward to reading more…

Rating – Can I ever rate any lower than this?

5 out of 5!

Fantastic book! Give it a ago…..but beware… It may raise your blood pressure…


Giveaway to Win an e-copy of Naughty or Nice by Rachael Stewart (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494314/

 

#BookBlitz – Children of Fire by Paul CW Beatty

Apologies, but this review should have been published yesterday. Technical issues and me being in hospital resulted in it not doing as planned. For this I apologise, but here is my 5 star review for this fantastic book!

——-

Children of Fire.png

Blogtour – Tuesday 26th November

Hi all

I have a fantastic review to bring you today – spoiler free, of course – today I bring you a story set in 1841 North West England and told from the point of view of the main character, Josiah Ainscough. This murder mystery was enthralling and riveting from the very first page and I cant wait to tell you more about it.

But obviously, first I must mention the two people who invited me onto this tour.
Big shout out to our Blog Host, Rachel of Rachels Random Resources (https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/) and to the wonderful author, Paul CW Beatty (https://twitter.com/cw_beatty)

I have said it before and I will say it again, a good book cover always stirs my curiosity and this is no exception.

Children of Fire Cover.jpg
I want to dive straight into my review, but first I want to introduce you to our author, and the book bio. Take a peek at the man who created this thrilling story.


About the Author

COF - Paul Pictures-2.jpg
Paul CW Beatty is an unusual combination of a novelist and a research scientist. Having worked for many years in medical research in the UK NHS and Universities, a few years ago he took an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University emerging with a distinction.

His latest novel, Children of Fire, is a Victorian murder mystery set in 1841 at the height of the industrial revolution. It won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Award in November 2017 and is published by The Book Guild Ltd.

Paul lives near Manchester in the northwest of England. Children of Fire is set against the hills of the Peak District as well as the canals and other industrial infrastructure of the Cottonopolis know as the City of Manchester.

Social Media – https://twitter.com/cw_beatty


About the Book

Children of Fire Cover

Can Josiah solve the puzzle before more people die, or is he out of his depth?
In 1841, at the height of the industrial revolution in the North West of England, Josiah Ainscough returns from his travels and surprises everyone by joining the Stockport Police Force, rather than following his adopted father’s footsteps into the Methodist ministry.

While Josiah was abroad, five men died in an explosion at the Furness Vale Powder Mill. Was this an accident or did the Children of Fire, a local religious community, have a hand in it. As Josiah struggles to find his vocation, his investigation into the Children of Fire begins. But his enquiries are derailed by the horrific crucifixion of the community’s leader.

Now Josiah must race against time to solve the puzzle of the violence loose in the Furness Vale before more people die. This is complicated by his affections for Rachael, a leading member of the Children of Fire, and the vivacious Aideen Hayes, a visitor from Ireland.

Can Josiah put together the pieces of the puzzle, or is he out of his depth? Children of Fire won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Prize for 2017

Purchase Links
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1912083469/
US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1912083469/


My Review

I loved Josiah’s character. I loved reading a book set in 1841. And I loved how this murder mystery kept guessing with every turn of the page.

There is a lot to Josiah’s chracter and it is interesting to find out about him as we read into the story. There are many characters, who help to create a full rich story that flows brilliantly. There are many twists and turns which kept me reading late into the night. I was amazed when I had finished the entire book within 2 days, a sure sign that I loved every second!

I applaud Paul Beatty for his research skills as the historical detail was amazing… and it created interesting, thought provoking moments which helped to give the story a full body. I was impressed with the story and satisfied with the conclusion.

This book was very enjoyable from start to finish.


My Conclusion
I have said this before too – I am now adding Paul CW Beatty to my author follow list. He is definitely one to watch. I enjoyed this story, and look forward to reading more from this author in the future. Fantastic storytelling!

Rating – 5 out of 5

Death after Life

Short Story written by Stephanie Geary

Dying is hard and dark.

Blackness surrounds me.

My body doesn’t exist now.

Only my mind remains.

Fear; I feel it.

Deep, hot and scary.

The darkness consumes me more.

I want to go back.

I want to feel alive again.

I want to feel something.

I don’t remember.

Not my name.

Not who I am. Or was.

I simply know that I have lost something.

I am lost; I am the lost.

A bright star twinkles ahead.

A star that was not noticeable until now.

It edges closer and closer.

Swirling.

Expanding.

Drawing me in.

Swallowing me whole.

And then I am born.

I am new again.

I am someone new.

A new cycle begins.

#blogtour – Star in the Shadows by Helen Buckley

Star in the Shadows

Blog Blitz – Thursday 31st October

Happy Halloween Blog-Followers! hope you are having a Spooktacular time! I bring you a review of a book which had me gripped from the very first page turn. A story that was both compelling and dramatic to read.

Big Thanks as always must go to the Blog Host, Rachel of Rachels Random Resources for inviting me along to this tour. (https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com)

And also, I would never have been able to introduce you to this story if the author hadn’t put pen to paper in the first place – Helen Buckley (https://buckleybooks.org)

Let me introduce you to Star in the Shadows!

Star in the Shadows FInal cover.jpg

I dived straight into this story, and read greedily as Kiara’s story was retold between the past and the present. The tale of a child living through poverty is difficult to digest and I felt myself warming to Kiara almost immediately. I don’t want to write too much, in case I inadvertently drop a spoiler, but this book was remarkable!

Before I give you more on my feelings, lets hear a bit about the author.


About the Author

Star in the Shadows Author.jpg
Helen Buckley has spent over thirteen years working and volunteering for charities in the UK and abroad, including four years in Honduras. She currently works as a charity communications manager and lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and son.

Social Media Links
Twitter               HelenCBuckley
Instagram         helencatherinebuckley
Website:            buckleybooks.org


About the Book

Star in the Shadows FInal coverStar in the Shadows

The world thinks that pop superstar Kiara Anderson has it all, but she spends her nights drinking away memories of her childhood and life as a teen runaway.
The Jacobs family are desperate to see the girl next door again and discover why she ran away, especially their son Shane, who blames himself for her disappearance.
When Kiara’s manager forces her into a reveal-all TV interview she knows the family she loved more than her own will finally discover the truth.
Can she overcome her demons or will the shadows of the past rob her of fame, fortune, and a chance to finally fall in love?

Purchase Link
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Shadows-Helen-Buckley/dp/1528932005


My Review

I read this book from start to finish in just one day. The pages sped by quickly as I strived to read more and more about Kiara and her life. We are introduced to her character in the beginning, she is a famous member of a girl group who are taking the charts by storm. And yet, like many celebrities of today, the public and press want to know more about her. As a result, she is kind of ‘forceably’ convinced to have a tell-all interview live on television.

What happens next, is a backwards-forwards retell, as we are shown glimpses of the past, coupled with the present, as Kiara is interviewed by Beth Winters.

I really want to tell you everything about this book, I want to talk about the highs and the lows, but I dont want to give anything away. This book had me enthralled from the start, I felt compelled to stay with this story until the end, and I fell in love with Kiara’s character.

There have been many books that I have read through the blogtours, some of which have really had me on tenderhooks as I read them, but this book triggered so many emotions! I would happily shout from the rooftops about how good this book is! People need to seriously add this to their TBR list, as it is a tremendous read.

This writer was new to me before reading this book, but I will be keen to read more of her work in the future. She has a wonderful writing style, and is a brilliant story-teller.


Conclusion

My top stars are reserved for those books that have blown me away. The books that have had me glued to them until I turn that final page… and this book is one of them! I would 100% recommend this to anyone who is looking for a new, exciting, dramatic read!

Rating – 5 out of 5!!


Does anyone fancy trying to #win themselves a copy of this book?

If so….please see details below. 😀

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Star in the Shadows, a beautiful dreams and goal planning journal, a star print scarf, and three yummy chocolate bars from Creighton’s Chocolaterie. (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494297/

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post! If you do nothing else, please go and check out this author and book! You will not be disappointed!

S x

 

Reading to my Children

As you may have gathered, I am a keen reader! I love the fact that bringing this blog together has helped me to meet new authors. I have come out of my comfort zone at times and read genres that I wouldn’t usually choose, but it has helped to broaden my preferences.

When Ethan was only a week old (back in 2011) I remember how excited I was to start reading him stories. Every night before bed, I picked a picture book and told him stories that had lots of colour, adventure and imagination. Every night since then without fail we have read a book before they fall into a slumber. From Pip and Posy to The Gruffalo; from The Stickman to Harry Potter. We have read a lot of books over the years and their bookcase is HEAVING with books. We are currently waiting for the 4th Illustrated version of The Goblet of Fire to be released (October) and are getting through David Williams books and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

My love of books has been passed down to them and I love catching them in the act as they pore over their books, escaping to worlds far from here. Ethan has read the first two Harry Potter books on his own, despite reading them twice with me already. Oliver reads the many books he has on planets and space and I love seeing how engrossed they get.

My first book as a child was The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo. It was my favourite, but I also loved Roald Dahl. One of my favourites of his was George’s Marvellous Medicine. David Williams has a similar style and I love reading them to my boys.

As I got to my teenage years, I read more books. From romance novels, to horrors. I loved Point Horror books and had many which I enjoyed reading. It was during this time that I came across Anne Franks diary. Real, honest, heartbreaking and yet I related in so many ways to this young girl.

I hope my boys never lose their love of reading, I hope they enjoy the likes of Stephen King, Charles Dickens and Margaret Atwood.

Book Reading Update

I love reading! Anything fiction and imaginative; something that takes me away from mundane and into a world of excitement, suspense and thrills really keeps me gripped.

I always set myself a reading challenge on Goodreads, and this year was no different. I am currently on 29/40 books read. There are times when I feel like I could read book after book, one after another…. Right now I am searching for my next book to start after finishing Adam Kays This is Going to Hurt.

What are you guys reading?

 

Any suggestions?

Mother Love

As a Mother I often wonder whether or not I am enough. There will be days when I question whether what I am doing is correct; Am I punishing them too much? Not enough? Do I listen to them enough? Do I praise them enough? Do I love them enough? Do they know how much I love them?

Ethan, 8 and Oliver, 4 are at the centre of everything that I do…and the centre of every decision I make. When Stew had his accident, I tried my best to protect them from the very possible chance that their Dad wouldn’t be coming home. We have always been of the belief that we wouldn’t lie to them, so I was honest without being too brutal in what I was saying. Oliver was too young at the time to even comprehend what was happening, but Ethan knew that things were different, and I saw the confusion on his face the first night I came home from the hospital. At a time when I was unsure what our futures would be like and whether or not my husband, their father, would be a part of it.

From then until now, they have known loss and confusion. They have witnessed pain and sorrow around them, and they have watched as their Dad struggled to be the man they needed him to be.

With most career choices, there comes textbooks, YouTube video tutorials, even lessons on how to do that chosen profession.

And yet, when it comes to being a mother, there is no guide book. Sure, you read blogs and websites. You swallow down as much information as possible from online forums and social media groups to allow you to be ready for when your bundle of joy comes along, but nobody…and I mean, nobody, can ever prepare you for that moment when it all becomes REAL!

I remember the birth of each of my children; the memories are sketchy in parts due to anaesthetic-brain but I remember them as though they were yesterday. Ethan’s scared little ‘alien’ face and kissable skin; or Oliver’s immense size (9lbs), paired with his gorgeous dark brown eyes, much like my own. And yes, it is true, I felt a rush of love. The old saying was right; there really isn’t any other love like it. But underneath that, feelings that I was desperately trying to keep buried, was fear and panic. In front of me were these bundles of joy; mini-people who were now reliant on me for their EVERYTHING. I watched over them sleeplessly – I counted their toes, stroked their skin and marvelled at how something so fantastic had come from me and Stew. But I also felt a cold-sweat on the back of my neck. All of a sudden, I felt incapable of looking after these tiny humans. How could I look after them and give them everything they need?
Me….the person who kills plants!
The person who burns most food she cooks….!
My memory has always been poor; how could I look after something when I forget things all of the time!?

The answer?

Well, if you came here looking for the answer to ‘Motherdom’ then you have come to the wrong place. Because I still don’t have it. Put simply, I don’t think anybody has….and if they say they do, then they are lying. Most of us Moms…and Dad’s too wing it.

Like me, they take their bundle of joys home and from the moment you are signed off by the midwife and the health visitor, then you are at a loss as to what to do. At least I was…Suddenly I was alone. I remember when Stew returned to work after Ethan was born. Two weeks old and he was left with me. My nerves were on edge, I worried about doing something wrong, I checked on him every few seconds; wanting him to sleep so I could catch a breath one minute and then staring over into his cot and willing him to wake up the next.

But I realised pretty early on that my feelings were born from my fear of not being good enough. I have always been the type of person who worries about what people think of me; my confidence has taken a beating over the years…whether it be from bullying at school, friendships that have been lost, family rifts or work stuff….I sometimes struggle to see myself of value. I know some of my friends may read this and say, ‘Don’t be soft.’ but its these feelings that I hide and bury deep. I choose to remain quiet rather than speak up if I don’t agree with something, I let people push me aside or use me rather than say something, I worry over every little conversation and every little thing…causing myself untold stress and anxiety…

And as a result, I don’t always see how people can like me very much. I know they do…this isn’t a cry for sympathy, but I fail to see why they do….I used to be so much more confident and I do wish I could speak more that is on my mind, rather than worrying about hurting peoples feelings…but my biggest fear is that one day my boys will see through my anxieties and they will dislike me too. I know it sounds silly, I know it does….as I write it I raise my eyebrows and tut but the fact remains I do worry that I wont be enough for them.

My boys are told relentlessly that I love them. I must tell them a few times a day at least; I am very tactile with them, stroking their hair and hugging them close, and I always listen and ask how their days are. As young people, they interest me. I love hearing how they see the world. I watch as they interact with one another, much like how I was with my brother. When we were younger, I fought with Adrian one minute and the next we would role play about robbers. My sons are the same, they fight like cat and dog at times, throwing insults and jabbing one another in the sides…and then the next minute they will be cuddled up together on the sofa, holding hands and watching tv.

Everyday is a learning curve with them, just as I feel like I am getting the hang of motherhood, then something else comes along that makes me feel like a fraudster. In a few years, Ethan will become a teenager and I will enter a new era, one which again I will be a stranger to. I remember how I was as a teenager and I know I was a gobby little cow, so I will step tentatively during those years, but I am going to be behind him and Oliver every step of the way. One day they may not want to hear me say I Love You. One day they will shrug off my hand as it goes round them for a hug, but I hope they always know that I will fight their corner. I hope they know how much I care for them. And I hope they will grow up thinking that their Mom is pretty ace.

Fear is still there, deep inside me, and I wonder everyday if I am doing a good job…but I reckon that the fear is good. It helps make me a better Mom, and I will continue to bumble along. I may not be the most organised Mom, I may not be great at remembering things….but I can promise them that I will be the very best that I can be and everything I do is for them.

Upwork rejection….no.2!

So I submitted an application to Upwork about 12 months ago, at a time when I rushed through my application and thought it would be given that I would be accepted.

Obviously I was wrong….

As I am wanting to make cash from my writing, I relooked at my application again. I updated it with my experiences, job history and qualifications. I put a ton of effort into the application and really thought I would be accepted this time….but again I got rejected.

Should I feel gutted about this decision?

How else do people break into writing work? Are there sites or forums I can connect with to look for work? Although I have been writing forever, I feel like I would be a beginner in terms of experience….

Does anybody have any advice for me? Are you a writer in the same boat? What did you do?

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