Tuesday, 10 September 2013

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis - a review

One Step Too FarOne Step Too Far by Tina Seskis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I knew I was going to do a review around 90% of the way through this book. Although at the time I wasn't quite sure what I was going to say, what I did know was that I wanted to find a way to convey how this book kept me gripped and how, when finally the big secret was revealed how it felt as if I had been punched in the chest. I had had a quick look at the reviews of this book before i started and was a little weary, I admit, when I saw there were quite a few negative ones. So I went in with an open mind, not too many expectations and although I wasn't instantly gripped from the very first page, I certainly was by the 25% mark.
It's easy to see how some would judge Emily/Cat for the choices she makes. I'm sure some of us could never imagine walking away from our family like she does but appearances can be deceiving and I love how Tina Seskis weaves a tale that does just that, keeping us in the dark, even though we don't realise we are.
I enjoyed how she told the same story from different points of view and I did find it easy to follow. There wasn't a single character I was bored with and simply fell in love with soft, sweet, caring Ben, my heart going out to him and hating Emily/Cat just a little for what she did to him, but never enough that I stopped caring about her too. Caroline, oh sad tortured Caroline made me rage with disgust at her behaviour yet I couldn't help feeling empathy for her too.

But it was that last 10% of the book that really did it for me. The brilliant way the tale comes together, all the secrets revealed, everything starting to make perfect sense and the tears that I couldn't stop from rolling down my face as I sat reading -no, devouring - the final few chapters on the bus on my way home tonight that convinced me that I absolutely had to do a review as its not often that a book makes me feel such profound feelings where I have to stop for just a few seconds to look out the window and try to compose myself.
I don't know if this book was recommended to me, many that I read are, or if I just randomly selected it from Amazon but I am very glad I finally got to it.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it and will be downloading her second book just as soon as I can.

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Saturday, 29 June 2013

Looking ahead

Exciting times ahead.
I have been reading like mad, I am still writing and all is going well.
My citizenship has come though and my British passport has arrived and we are set to go on holiday.
And..speaking of holidays, we have two more weeks to go and then we are off to sunny (oh I do hope) Zakinthos in Greece!
I am looking forward to cocktails and wonderful Greek food.  To sunshine and sandy beaches. To heat and cool sea breezes.  But mostly, I am looking forward to getting away for a while. To relaxing and recharging my batteries, which to me, feel like they are long overdue for a good charge.
Last year did not see us go abroad and as much as I love the beautiful English countryside, nothing beats the tropical heat of the Mediterranean.  If I could,  I would pack up and move there tomorrow, the climate is ideal, the food is great and the standard is living is far more laid back.
The Brits - especially the ones down south - do everything on fast forward.  Ever been to London and tried to get from A to B?  You probably wouldn't notice it if you lived there, but as someone speaking from up north, its quite surreal.  People don't smile, they don't chat, they are all just intent on getting to where they need to be and it seems everyone around them becomes invisible.   While I am not saying that is a terrible thing, I have to admit that coming back home, is always nice because the people up north are a far friendlier bunch.
But even up north, the culture is very much a work culture.  As an ex South African, my lifestyle was one where work stopped around 4pm and people lived outside.  People socialise more and do far more outdoor activities.  Now I know the weather, especially here in Manchester, is mostly not outdoor friendly, I am still very conscience of the very strong work ethic.  People work work work....weekends are meant for sleeping and drinking and not much more. 
The people from the continent though, they have got it right.  Their siesta's and reduced work hours surely make more sense when there is the perfect weather and big open spaces.  The pubs, cafes and friendly people make it somewhere I'm sure, even if you live there and are not on holiday, still feel that '
that this is the life'.
Or perhaps I am just dreaming, and annoyed that summer 2013 seems to have lasted all of 8 days this year.
Regardless, I have two weeks holiday to look forward to. Leaving on July 14th for two long weeks, I hope to come back refreshed, bronzed and ready to tackle work and life again.



Monday, 3 June 2013

WhiteSpace Season One by Sean Platt and David W. Wright - a review

WhiteSpace Season OneWhiteSpace Season One by Sean Platt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second review I have done on one of the 'seasons' by these two authors. I did one a week or so ago on their other massively successful series called 'Yesterday's Gone' after finishing Season two and have since finished the third in the series.
So impressed was I by their style in both the series' as well as their Zombie story called Z2134 that I hurriedly grabbed the next series called Whitespace. I have just finished season one and I have to say I am fast becoming a huge fan of theirs. Their ability to leave you reeling after each episode by massive cliffhangers keeps you coming back for more and more and I can see them gaining a massive following, if they haven't already. The idea to write books in the form of a series is so clever and I am pretty sure it will catch on and become a very successful medium in which to release books, though I imagine the added pressure of having to ensure you don't keep your readers waiting too long after leaving them hanging in the air by some awesome 'Oh my god, I did not see that coming!' end of episode/season will make it difficult to keep up the pace and to keep delivering.
Whitespace is well written (although I did see a few typo's that need looking at) and it focuses on a small island town off the west coast of the US where strange things seem to be happening. Initially, I downloaded the book because I thought it dealt with a school shooting and its aftermath, and although that is the opening premise of the book, it develops into so much more than that.
The characters are well developed and I am sure you will soon have a favourite (mine is Brock Houser) but I have become fascinated by each one and having just downloaded season two I eagerly await to read more to find out what happens to each one.
Twists and turns at the end of every episode with tiny little hints thrown in here and there, you will be kept guessing throughout and then, if you are like me and think you have guessed what is going on, will still be freaked when more and more facts are revealed.
I look forward to much more from this talented duo, who I imagine are madly writing to keep up with the demand by their ever increasing fan base.

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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Yesterday's Gone Season Two - by Sean Sean Platt and David W. Wright - A review

Yesterday's Gone: Season TwoYesterday's Gone: Season Two by Sean Platt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know how it is, when one day, you happen across an excellent TV series that you didn't know was there, or, after your friends and colleagues rave about something they have been watching on TV and you finally cave to see what all the fuss is about and you realise, 5 minutes into it, this is one of those that is going to hook you? You know how great it feels when you happen along a brilliant TV series (think Lost, Walking Dead, Fringe to mention but a few) and realise you have a shed load of episodes to immerse yourself in, ones where, at the end of each cliff hanging episode you can just press next on your remote control and keep watching until an entire weekend has gone by or you finally reach the end and want to throw the remote at the TV out of pure frustration because you DO NOT want to wait until the next episode is aired to see what happens next? Well, that is what you get with the 'Yesterday's Gone' series.
What a clever idea this is! Though I admit, I was not aware of this until recently, so I was not one of those eagerly awaiting the next 'episode' to download but have hungrily devoured the first two series in their entirety and am now on season three, but I know I am going to be screaming with frustration when I come to the end of it and am not sure if I will wait for the entire season four to download it (which is more my style) or if I will be unable to wait and end up downloading each episode. Time will tell I guess on that front.
Yesterday's done is a cleverly written, nail biting epic that will grab you by the throat and transport you to another world. If you are into post-apocalyptic, survival of the fittest, twist and turns around ever corner kind of genres then this is for you. I found with this book, the authors have taken a little bit of inspiration from some of my favourite books and TV programmes, have meshed them together to create a story which is almost like 'The Best Bits' of each and delivered it to me so I may feast. And feast on it I am.
The writing is fast paced and the characters are well written. I have a love-hate relationship with all of them, and Sean and David have not been afraid to kill of my favourite ones, leaving me wanting to scream at them, but at the same time eagerly reading on to the next 'episode' to see just how they will go on from there and to not be disappointed.
I have devoured the first two seasons and will most definitely devour season three.
I have talked about this in the office and have smiled at the looks on my colleagues faces when I talk about episode this and season that and note the confusion on their faces when they realise I am talking about a book and not a TV series but I know, intrigue alone will get some of them to buy this and then I know, they too will be addicted.
I have also read Z2134 prior to this and will certainly be reading more from these two authors. I love the topics they write about, all very current and trendy right now and I believe they are pioneers in a new market that will surely take off like wildfire.
Well done boys.

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Saturday, 4 May 2013

Solitude



Solitude

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it’s mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox- November 5, 1850 – October 30, 1919

Friday, 15 February 2013

The Diary of a Submissive by Sophie Morgan - A review

The Diary of a SubmissiveThe Diary of a Submissive by Sophie Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was going to give this a thorough review, mostly because of my feelings whilst reading this book. However, after looking at the reviews briefly, I feel this has been more than done with the 2.8k+ reviews already submitted. In particular, I want to mention Natasha's review 'Natasha is a book junkie' which I thought was brilliantly done and described almost everything that I wanted to say anyway.
The difference between her 2 star rating and my 5 star is that I did not want to mark the book down because it was a little too over the top for me. I have been interested in this genre for a long time, before the Fifty Shades of Grey fiasco anyway - and was thrilled with Fifty hit the shelves, leading to a sudden saturation in the market. I have read a few other trilogies too, some pretty mediocre, so, when I picked up this one, it did shock me a little.
I too have to wonder how much of a submissive she is compared to an actual masochist and although I know the two go hand in hand, the balance, in my opinion, seems to be tipped a little too much to the latter. I didn't 'feel the love' as I did with the other books I have read and yes, Thomas scared me too, but I am not sure if that is simply because the author didn't dwell on the touch feely side of him because she was so focused on the 'punishments' or if there just wasn't any of that coming from him.
James restored a little of my faith in men. Either Sophie wanted to make him a little less sadistic and more human, or he just was, we will never know, but regardless, it was all a little too violent for my taste.
That however, does not make this a bad book. It is just the other spectrum of the BDSM lifestyle that I am sure people do practice.
I do have to wonder about Sophie's outlook in life, her kink and like Natasha, I actually do feel sorry for her need to be treated this way. There is a very fine line I believe, between keeping a D/s relationship a loving and caring one, to simply a physical one. This book, I felt missed out on the loving/caring side of the D/s dynamic.

But, to each their own I guess. For readers that enjoyed Fifty Shades, but who are not active in the lifestyle I would NEVER recommend this book. It does leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth. For those however who truly are interested in a D/s lifestyle and want to read an 'honest and frank - all holds bared' side of it, I would recommend it. There is nothing black and white about D/s, there is no absolute rules, this is just one side of it that some people could perhaps enjoy.

I did say I wasn't going to write a review, and there I go doing just that. The reason for my 5 stars was because the author kept me riveted, even if she did make me queasy and in some scenes, quite upset and disturbed, (which is a good result for any writer to get from their readers in my opinion). I found no fault with her writing and have walked away thinking that I understand even more about the D/s dynamic, even if it wasn't pretty.

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Sunday, 3 February 2013

Music


There is probably nothing in the world that has an effect on me more than music does.  Just one song can completely alter my mood.  I can go from happy to sad in an instant. 
I grew up on music.  I remember as a young child my parents holding house parties and I remember knowing the words to some 1960’s songs which had been popular before my time but had been hits in my parent’s teenage years.  I remember quite clearly listening to ‘The best of the 1950’s/1960’s’, to ‘Abba’ and to ‘Neil Diamond’ that my mother used to play sometimes when she was cleaning the house, or on quiet Sunday afternoons.  I remember these with very fond memories.

I grew up in the eighties and I will forever believe that the music from the 80’s was the best era, EVER!  My interest in music changed from what my parents exposed me to, to what I liked and I was one of those people who listened to the radio on a Saturday, recording all the hits to my tape cassette and listened to it all week through to the next Saturday.  As a young adult I went clubbing and would dance, mesmerised to the music on the dance floor, allowing the deep base and thud thud thud to go through my body, surrendering it to the beat while I swayed back and forth, or kissed the boyfriend I was with. 

In my darker moments, I will seek music to suit, listening to sad love songs, or songs of woe that only helps to plunge me further into an abyss, which, when I am depressed and/or down, is where I would rather be.  Sometimes, though, if I am happy and upbeat and a song of sadness comes onto my iPod, my mood will immediately plunge until I am reminiscing about the times that the song reminds me of.
Likewise if a song comes on which is upbeat and fast, a spring in my step will appear, a smile on my face and I will glide around happily, a silly grin plastered to my face.

So why does music have such an effect on me?  Is it like this for everyone? I could live without almost everything in this world, but without music I would be doomed. I truly would be a miserable person.  As I type this, I am listening to music and I am smiling.  I tend to sing along, sometimes loudly, but I am aware that my singing voice is not quite up there for any type of recording contract but that’s ok with me, I love it and I will sing regardless.
They say the sense of smell is directly connected to your memory bank in your brain and that it is so potent that just the smallest whiff of something can immediately transport you back to the memory you have of it.  That is very true, I have experienced this many times, but music does this for me too.  So many songs send me back to a time that song played and the memory will play perfectly clear in my mind, my feelings, my thoughts, everything crystal clear.

I have many favourite songs, and the list constantly changes.  At the moment, I am swooning over Christina Perri’s ‘A thousand Years’, Emeli Sandé’s ‘Beneath You’re Beautiful’ and Rihanna’s ‘Stay’, but they are merely the fave’s of the moment.  REM’s ‘Everybody hurts’; Adele’s ‘Don’t you remember’; Aerosmith’s ‘I don’t want to miss a thing’ and Snow Patrol’s ‘Run’ are but a few of the songs I will never be able to get enough of and there are far too many more to list without boring you silly.

Music is the ultimate soothing remedy for my soul.  It’s the ultimate downer and the most potent upper I could possibly take.  The high’s I sometimes experience – others would call it giddiness – when I have my earphones plugged in, drowning out all the sound of the world around me and causing me to dance – sometimes unselfconsciously – is what makes me love music so much and which is why, if music suddenly ceased to exist, I would want to also.

Bx

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Can you hear me?


Can you hear me?
Can you hear me screaming at the top of my voice
While my lips remain sealed?

Can you see me?
Can you see my eyes pleading with yours
Begging to be heard

I am reaching
Reaching out my trembling hand
Willing you to take it
I am pleading
Silently shrieking, ripping at my skin
For your attention
Can’t you see me?
Wilting like a dying flower in the sun
Desperate for your touch

I am losing
I am fading
I am hopeless

Can you hear me?

~~Bernadette~~
29-01-13

Friday, 18 January 2013

Like starting again

I haven't blogged for ages, and this is mostly due to the dreaded 'couldn't be arsed' feeling that came over me around July/August last year. At the time, I was a few thousand words into my first serious attempt of a novel, a story I was excited about at the time but then inexplicably lost interest. I was also tweeting furiously and blogging often. A lethargy came over me which I happily embraced and the second half of last year was spent mostly Facebook page refreshing, reading, gaming and Netflix obsessing. I am not berating myself for this, it happens, but I am a little sad that it probably appeared to my new found twitter friends that I had lost interest in them too. I admit, I definitely could have made more of an effort to stay in touch, but the occasional 'Hiya, how you doing' on Facebook or email was about the length of the effort I made. I am sorry about that. Truly, but rest assured, I did not loose interest. I thought of all of you often . I kept telling myself that I needed to get that email off to them, find out what was going on in their lives. I just...did'nt. It was far too easy to convince myself that after a hard day's work, the only thing I was up for was chilling out, doing next to nothing. And so, the months flew by.

Fortunately, it seems to me my mojo is back. I am not about to throw myself back into twitter, nor am I promising to blog 24/7 either, rather, I have started writing again and this is a step in the right direction for me. It feels great! Over the course of those 7 months I did type up a few short stories, nothing major and certainly nothing I wanted to show off to anyone on here, but the other night I was reading one of them and picked up from where I had left off, and I haven't been able to stop typing since. I don't want to scream from the rooftops that I am busy writing my first novel, I will probably jinx myself if I do. Rather, I am taking it day by day, sitting down each evening to write a few thousand words, and its going wonderfully. I am surprised by my enthusiasm for this. Surprised to find myself enjoying my characters and thinking of them during the day and where I am going to take them. I look forward at night to coming home, so that I can get comfortable in front of my computer and continue where I left off the night before. In this week I can happily say I have spent a total of ONE evening sat in front of the television. The rest of the time I have been here.

Where will this go? I do not know. Will this get finished? I do not know. I do tend to become engrossed in something pretty quick and then, just as quickly, loose interest, that's just the nature of me, so I am not counting my chickens, but I do hope - really hope - that this goes all the way. I intend to publish, at the very least, I will self publish, but it's probably not even worth thinking that now until I have typed the words 'The End' at the bottom of my manuscript. Fingers crossed :)

As for my friends, I have missed you. I promise to make more of an effort this year.

To end this, I wanted to add a music video of my favourite song at the moment. It makes me all gooey and fuzzy inside :) I promise, its got nothing to do with Twilight, I just simply love the words and the sound of her voice. Enjoy.

Bx