Friday, 23 June 2017

Book review// Perfect Score by Susan Roebuck

Hi there! Welcome back to a new Book review! This post is about a lovely book I was asked to review written by Susan Roebuck.

About the author:


 
My first love is, of course, my husband, my second writing, and my third painting. And now I have time to be able to indulge in all three.
My debut novel, "Perfect Score" was published by Awe-Struck Publishing on Sept 21, 2010 and the paperback was launched on May 11 2011. In May 2017 Mundania Press re-released the ebook.
Perfect Score was an EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) finalist in the 2012 EPIC e-Book Awards in the Mainstream Category.
"Perfect Score" is set in mid West USA in the 1960s and is a story about family relationships, corruption, growing up, integrity, responsibility, and being a man of worth in a society of the worthless.
"Hewhay Hall" is my second novel, published by Etopia Press on April 20, 2012. It has won the EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) 2013 e-Book Award in the Horror Category (an EPPIE)

Book synopsis:

Feckless, exasperating Alex Finch is a rich, handsome and talented singer/songwriter who longs for two things: a career as a professional rock singer, and to have his love for Sam Barrowdale reciprocated. But drifter Sam's two aims are simply to earn enough money to pay his sister's medical bills and to hide from the world his reading/writing and speech disability. At this time the word "dyslexia" is generally unknown so to most people he's just a "retard". From the severe knocks life's dealt him, Sam's developed a tough outer coating and he has no time for a spoilt, selfish guitar player.

Despite his defects, Alex's love for Sam never wavers and when Sam unexpectedly disappears, Alex begins a somewhat bungling quest to find him, only to discover that Sam has a fearful enemy: Alex's powerful and influential yet sociopathic uncle.

As Alex spirals downwards towards alcoholism, many questions need answering. Just why did Alex's evil uncle adopt him at age eleven yet deny him any affection? And what's the mystery behind Alex's father's death?

Both seem to face unbeatable odds. Are they doomed to follow separate paths forever?


 Review:
Perfect Score  is a clever story that tells the tale of two unique characters who face varying challenges. Sam has had a hard life, growing up on the streets, he works in a mix of jobs to fund healthcare for his sister. His life is intertwined with Alex a troubled musician, who is funded by his wealthy Uncle, who expects him to enter the family business. The story takes place in the rugged prairies of the 1960's. A beautiful backdrop for a burgeoning romance. 
Overall I rated the book 8/10. The characters had such complexity and depth to them it was hard not to become engrossed by the novel. The tale focuses not just on love but on family values, how whats expected of us can alter our path in life and how whats perceived as "manly". I particularly like the fact that the relationship between the main characters does not feel forced, it fits naturally into the setting of the novel and its main themes.

The book is available on Amazon and Goodreads.

Abi x

This book was kindly sent to me to review.

Monday, 19 June 2017

When your ex is seeing someone new...

I found out recently that my ex is seeing someone else. Even though I rarely think about him it made me feel really weird. Part of me was upset about it, naturally, we don't like to think the other person might just be okay after a split. Surely their life ended the minute you stopped sharing one?  So to hear this was a big shock for me.

On the other hand, it made me feel relieved. It's like a validation that it's  been long enough since the end of the relationship that's okay to start properly seeing other people again. Thank you wanker ex for establishing that.  
 
It's okay to feel upset. You may have fully acknowledged the relationship was over to yourself much sooner than this but its still a big break up milestone. Here are a few things that went through my head, and might be of help to you if you're in the same position.
  1. Its only natural to want to compare yourself to the new person. Don't. It's not worth the upset. Honestly. Just remind yourself you've probably changed since the separation, so why can't your ex? Maybe their looking for different things in the people date now. 
  2. People can date a wide variety of people. Who they date next is not a reflection on you. See above point for the fact that people change.
  3. Remember that your relationship had good points (I hope) too. They are what make the time and effort and eventual loss worth it. At this point it may feel natural to start seeking out new memories with someone new too. 
  4. Your ex is dick. I don't care who ended it, how it ended or anything. At the end of the day they are  one. It's their loss through and through that you are not together. You are awesome and amazing and can do anything the hell you want. Hold onto that fiery anger to help see you through this tough patch.
  5. Go date yourself. If you don't feel up to dating anyone else, then go enjoy yourself on your own. It sounds silly but I'd 10/10 recommend it. Check out my posts about self dating here.
Just a few things to think about. At the end of the day it's not the end of the world. After a break up your ex will eventually move on, it's never going to be an easy thing to hear. So just enjoy yourself and forget about them. Don't be afraid to be upset about but equally don't be upset if you're not that assed either. There's no right or wrong way to react. Just let you, be you.

Have you any advice on this kind of situation? 

Abi x

Friday, 16 June 2017

I ran a bloody half marathon

That's right I did it. 28th May 2017 I dragged my nervous ass around 13 miles of beautiful Liverpool in the Liverpool Rock'n'Roll half marathon.
It was epic. It's not a lie to say I loved doing it. Seeing so many people challenging themselves both physically and mentally. All the supporters out along the route were lovely, even if no one I knew was there. 
 
Most of all I'm proud that I set the goal to finish, trained for it for  months then went and smashed it! 
If I'm being honest I didn't come away unscathed. I was sore for a few days after. And if you're grossed out, I'm sorry about the next line or so. I ended up with a massive blood blister under on of my toenails. Totally grim and I'm still half expecting the nail to fall off... ewwww! 
I already know that I want to run another race. I've already up for some local 10ks. My next goal is to run a half marathon next year and get my time under 2hrs30. Overall I loved the experience and can't wait for my next big race! 


Have you ever run a half marathon? 

Abi x

Monday, 12 June 2017

Being supportive

You know how all the blogger tips say to make a distinct title? Well not me, as per I've gone for something a bit vague. The truth is this post is a bit vague but it's something that's been playing around in my head for a while.

I want to talk about supporting other peoples choices and lifestyles. About how you don't have to be the same as someone to support them and help to make the best life for themselves that they can.

To do this I've asked permission from my younger sibling to tell you a bit about them. My younger sister identifies as gender fluid. Yep I said sister, because she's happy to let me carry on saying that, and to use the pronoun she/her. She's really flexible with it. I'm honoured that she feels comfortable chatting to me about how she feels and how it changes for her personally. It's not something that is always easy for her to express herself about.
I try to respect the fact that some days she feels much more masculine than feminine. That although she might wear a dress and heels today, tomorrow it could be a mans shirt and jeans.What I try to do is facilitate.
I tried to explain to a friend why I wasn't bothered about compliments. That I do them for me, my outward appearance is an extension of myself. Any changes I make are for me, they're not for others validation. I view others in a similar way. How they dress or what make up or what hairstyle they do isn't for my benefit. I don't exist to validate my sister's choices as she experiments with her gender, her style. Instead we talk about it, I offer suggestions. I talk about things with our parents, who don't necessarily see things in the same way. Seeing the choices as a quirk or a phase. I help to explain to them that its an expression of how my sister is feeling that day and that outward appearance may also come hand in hand with a different view on things.
I love seeing the different ways she expresses herself. The different styles she experiments with.
This feels very rambley but it's something I find hard to express myself. To me it's keeping an open attitude to others. It's the difference between being part of a discussion but not stepping over someone else voice. It's something my relationship with my sister has only helped to strengthen.

On the other hand, my relationship with my brother has only recently started to improve. My younger brother smokes cigarettes. Has done for several years. When it first came out I was furious. Why was he doing it? He's more than intelligent enough to know the risks. I was so, so mad with him. In fact I was the only person who really was. It took me a long time to accept that even though I think its a stupid choice to make its his choice to make. That I can continue to be angry and ruin the time me and my brother spend together. Or I can accept that it is his choice to carry on smoking. We both know I'm still not happy about it, but I respect his right to choose what he wants to do with his own life.
For me it was difficult to acknowledge but I had to step away and take my own thoughts and beliefs about smoking out the equation. I love my siblings dearly, and even if its hard I will always support their choices even if I don't necessarily agree with them.

Have you ever found it hard to step back and keep an open mind with people you care about?

Abi x

Friday, 9 June 2017

5 things I'm loving

It seems I've turned round and my life has changed again. I've started a new team in work and even though it's great the first few weeks settling in are always hard work(also I really miss my old team!!). It's nice to know that even with change that there's all the small things that can help keep you grounded.

It actually seems to me that there's quite a few things I've been enjoying at the moment so naturally I wanted to write a post about it... (well, obvs).

Books:
Now that almost of my work is wrapped up for my last rotation, I'm actually getting back into reading again. It literally feels like a breath of fresh air for me. Like, I can't describe how sad I've been with having barely any time for reading lately.

Music:
I feel like I've turned round and all of a sudden there's a load of great new music from my fave artists. My current addiction is Paramore's Hard Times. In honesty I've listened to it a million times and still love hearing it. That and Imagine Dragons Thunder give me all the heart eye emojis. 

Skincare:
This should rightfully have its own post as I've been trying lots of new things. However my current love is this bad boy ( Youth peel) that I picked up at a recent Body Shop event. It leaves my face feeling lovely and refreshed whenever I use it. It's a little pricey but a little goes a long way. 

Makeup:
See above comment about needing its own post ha. In truth it's been a while since I talked about makeup over here, surprising because again I've been trying lots of new things lately. Anyway a product I've been loving lately has to be the Kiko eye shadow I got in a CarnLIVal goody bag. I just love the colour and it's seriously easy to apply and blend. Perfect for someone who prefers their makeup as easy as poss.

Family:
It's corny but since moving home I've been getting on great with my family. It's surprising because we're all such a mix of personalities and opinionated as hell. Still I've been loving spending more time with then and actually that's okay with me.

This post has been a nice little recap for me, what things have you lived recently? 

Abi x

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

#TellMeMore

Getting those Grease vibes thanks to the stellar Lyd from What Lyd Did who recently set up this wee tag (see her post here
What's the story behind your blog name? 
My family used to call me a "Square" for being quiet and geeky. The blue striped part comes from being a physio, we're known to have "blue stripes" o our uniform. Even if they're not all that stripey haha. Also I like the colour blue.

What's your real reason for blogging?

I started back when I messed up my dissertation so had a delayed graduation. I had so much free time and zero money, so it gave me a great distraction when I mega bloody needed it. Since that was nearly two years ago I have since passed my course and worked as a qualified physio in the NHS. I keep up writing now as a fun hobby that gives me different opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise had.

Best thing about blogging?
The people. Its cheesy but I've met some lovely people blogging. There are some incredible minds out there both weird and wonderful and I really love seeing other people own their stuff!

Worst thing about blogging?
Under pressure do do do du dun. There's always a pressure to be consistent and have high quality content. Sometimes its hard to keep up. Like I went to my second #CarnLIVal event in April and I've tried to write a post about but it just isn't happening. It's hard because you want to reflect the effort thats gone into things and events like that.

Proudest moment so far?
Realizing my blog had turned 1. I was amazed I managed to keep it going alongside working and my other life commitments. Now I couldn't imagine life without it!

What are your ultimate blogging goals? Don't be shy!
To reach 10000 pageviews. Its only simple but its just been lovely watching the numbers tick closer.

If you released a book, what genre would it be?
Science fantasy is my favourite genre to read for the amazing worldbuilding. If I had the talent I would love to write a mega long multi story fantasy series haha. No pressure...

If you released products, what would they be? Homeware, beauty, or something unexpected?
Probs be linked to my awesome unborn fantasy series. Maybe some cute little collectibles or some shit haha.

What would you name the products and why? 
Oooh can't give my secrets away. Could be worth millions ya know...(aka I don't know...)

What has blogging taught you?
That actually there's a lot more in my life than I necessarily realise. Blogging gives me the chance to look back on the good and the bad and see how far I've come.

Sum up your blog in three words!
Chatty. Relaxed. Random.

Thank you Lyd the legend for this lovely tag and for suggesting I have a go!

Abi x