Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Books I've Loved: Now is Everything



I knew nothing about this book when I picked up, but the blurb intrigued me so I decided to give it a go.  And boy am I glad I did!

The book takes place after a plane crash in which it appears Hadley is the sole survivor.  Through a series of flashbacks as she works through how she came to be there, Hadley's world comes into view.  Her ineffectual mother who drinks to escape reality.  Her overbearing bully of a father.  Her much loved little sister who Hadley will do anything to protect from living the life she has been forced to endure.

Outwardly this is a wealthy, privileged family and Hadley is not only a perfect student, but also a star athlete.  At least, that's what Charlie Simmons sees when he first meets her.  As they fall deeper and deeper in love, the cracks in Hadley's perfect life begin to show.  And she becomes increasingly reckless in defying her family in order to keep seeing the boy she loves.

This book highlights how broken families can be behind closed doors, and how much people are willing to suffer for those they care about.  It also shows what can happen when someone gets pushed one step too far...

Intriguing right up to the final page, I highly recommend this one.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

The McCauleys look perfect on the outside. But nothing is ever as it seems, and this family is hiding a dark secret.

Hadley McCauley will do anything to keep her sister safe from their father. But when Hadley’s forbidden relationship with Charlie Simmons deepens, the violence at home escalates, culminating in an explosive accident that will leave everyone changed.

When Hadley attempts to take her own life at the hospital post-accident, her friends, doctors, family, and the investigator on the case want to know why. Only Hadley knows what really happened that day, and she’s not talking.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Weekly Goals 22-1-18

I've almost caught up on everything I needed to do after being away on holiday, so this week is going to be about deciding what to work on first this year.

I have several things I want to do, so I need to figure out which is the best one to work on first.

And of course, I still have a few little things to tie up from while I was away.  So they need to be done first.  I don't want to dive into something new while there are still dangling threads and loose ends of other things hanging over me.  That's just a recipe for distraction.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things 19-1-18



This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

What am I celebrating this week?

The end of my first week back at work.  Damn, did it feel long!  Luckily it's a long weekend, so I have an extra day to recover...

I've had a child-free week (they get back tomorrow), so it's been a chance to spend time with my partner and do things we don't usually get to do together.  We've been out to dinner and to the movies and haven't been eating dinner until after 7pm.

Tonight he's working, but it's an outdoor gig in the Botanic Gardens, so I'll go along with him and enjoy the music.  My best friend is performing and it has been far too long since I've seen her.

Then tomorrow the kids get back and things will begin to get back to normal. Although, one of them still has two more weeks off school...

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Books I've Loved: None of the Above

With having been away at the beach, I've done a ton of reading in the last couple of weeks, and some of the books I've read have been really enjoyable.  

Like this one which I've been wanting to read since I first heard about it, and have been waiting and waiting for the library to stock.  When they didn't, I bit the bullet and bought a copy of my own.

It is the story of a girl called Kristin who is elected Homecoming Queen, is a rising track star and has a wonderful boyfriend.  But when she and Sam decide to take their relationship to the next level, sex isn't the wonderful, pleasurable expression of love she was expecting.  A second attempt isn't much better, so Kristin decides to go and see a doctor.

What she discovers about herself is frightening: she's intersex.  While outwardly she looks like a girl, she doesn't have a womb.  Oh, and she does have testes, she's just never noticed them because they're inside her.

The book explores how Kristin navigates this new discovery about herself and how it changes her preception of herself.  It also explores the reactions of the people around her as they struggle to understand (and largely fail) what it means to be intersex.

I really enjoyed this book and hope it becomes widely read in schools and beyond so people can get a better understanding of what being intersex is, and how painful it can be to discover something like that about yourself at a time when you're already fighting to find your true identity on so many other levels.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex... and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Weekly Goals 15-1-18

I'm back!

We had a glorious 10 days in Kaiteriteri where the sun shone most of the time.  I swam everyday bar one, and did a lot of hiking and mountain biking as well.  The last two days were pretty wet, but I managed to squeeze a swim into one during a break in the weather, and a 20km bike ride into the other as the weather cleared.  You should have seen how muddy we were when we got back from that one!  Some of the puddles on th track were knee-deep...

I got back from the beach last night, and am straight back to work this morning, so just trying to catch up on everything I've missed while I've been largely out of internet contact.  If I owe you something, I promise, it's coming in the next few days...

So that's what my goal is this week: to catch up on all those unfinished little bits and pieces and follow up on things I started and have left dangling.

The kids are still away for another week, so I'm also hoping my partner and I can catch a few movies before they get back.  During the year we very rarely get the opportunity to get out together, so this is a good chance to have a couple of date nights without having to worry about babysitting.

What are your goals this week?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Away!

Just a quick note to let you all know I'm away for the next 10 days and the blog will also be on holiday.

We're making our annual trek to the beach house and internet is sketchy if available at all.  So if you need me, you can email, but I may not reply as quickly as I usually would.

Regular posts will resume on Monday 15 January.

Play nicely together while I'm gone.


And just to make you all sinfully jealous, here's where I'm going...

Monday, January 1, 2018

Yearly Goals 1-1-18

Dear Me,

Can’t quite believe it’s 2018 already; it feels like five minutes ago I was writing my 2017 goals. Not that I did so well with those…

I feel like I was probably too ambitious with my goals last year and set myself unrealistic targets in terms of the amount of writing I can actually achieve.  So this year I’m going to be a little less ambitious.  My job is intense and busy and I often just don’t have anything left in the tank at the end of the day.  I didn’t even meet my reading goal for 2017, which is unheard of for me.  I usually go way over my target.  Okay, 180 books may have been too many, but I also think I read a lot more really long books this year too, and that compounded the issue.

So, 2018.  What do I want to achieve?

I have a few more books that are ready to go out, so I hope to publish at least one book in 2018, if not two.   I like working with my publisher, despite their rather limited distribution. Doing the publicity and promotion is challenging, but I’m learning more each time, so I hope to have figured out the best things to do for the least money as I keep publishing.  I also hope to begin developing a fan base, something you can’t really do when you only have one book available.

I plan to revise SHOOK to take the various agents’ feedback into account.  And I’d like to finish one or both the books I started during 2017’s NaNo.  I may even revisit my 2016 NaNo book to see if I actually like anything about it anymore.

I would like to complete at least one new title in 2018.  It feels like over the last couple of years I’ve started a lot of books, but somehow haven’t managed to finish anything.  2018 is the year I actually finish something.  Maybe even two or three somethings…  But let’s not be too ambitious.

In other, non-writing areas, I plan to exercise more.  This year I’ve made it to the gym once a week most weeks, which is hopeless.  I am determined that in 2018 I will make it to the gym at least twice a week in my lunchbreak as well as my usual Saturday morning class. 

With both the kids growing up rapidly, I would also like to try and do something with my partner at least once a week.  Something other than doing the weekly grocery shop which has become our date night since we moved to the new house.

And finally, I want to be more social on social media again.  When I first used Twitter I made friends with lots of people and enjoyed really engaging with them.  Since starting my new job three years ago,  my time for non-work-related social media has been much more limited and I miss the connections I used to have with people.  I plan to use my commuting time much more productively this year and socialize on social media more.

As always, I’ll check in on these goals around the middle of the year, and again at the end to see how I’m tracking.

What are your goals for 2018?