Reading Down My TBR Pile (2016 Edition) – Week Eight

There is actually very little to say about reading this week but I don’t want to get out of the habit of writing these posts.  I’ve read part of a book – Bone by Bone by Sandija Kay – but I’ve not finished any books.  I plan to finish reading that either tonight (or more likely tomorrow).

In terms of Reading Down My TBR Pile that’s basically a failure for February. I’ve read seven books/short stories/novellas this month. And I’m currently four or so books behind on my Goodreads challenge.

I’ve bought three books and read none of them.

I downloaded a free short story and read that.

And over the weekend I used all but one of my remaining audible credits (I bought a one year pack – 12 credits at a reduced price- in December) to finish my collection of Swallows and Amazons audiobooks. I haven’t listened to any of them. It doesn’t feel like that’s added to my TBR though because I’ve read them before.

That’s clearly bollocks though because buying them and not listening to them is pointless.

For March I’m wondering about having another go at 15 in 31. I’ve not managed it both times I tried before but I have several long train journeys coming up so that should make it much easier.

Here’s to better news next month!

Safe Space

A couple of weeks ago, a new collaborative blog – Safe Space – was launched.

For the past year or so I’ve been unconvinced by the concept of “safe space” on the internet – a space where people can be free to share/be who and what they are completely without fear of abuse, hate, ridicule, triggers or trolling.  It seems like too big a goal both with how massive the internet and it’s trolling problems have become and the fact that for some people what is acceptable and OK can be what’s triggering, abusive or upsetting for others. Online (and in person) safe spaces are a worthwhile goal and one that is needed but the implementation seems problematic to me (especially when some communities like the disability one can’t even agree on what’s the correct language to use)

But I completely agree with the idea of Safe Space, the blog and I’m pleased that I’m going to be part of the team.

Jess, who founded the site wrote:

Here at Safe Space we understand that it’s hard as f**k being a girl. Periods, sexism and trying to put on eyeliner can be all in a days work.

Safe Space is a place where a group of women bring you posts about trying to hold their shit together. Talking honestly about mental health, feminism, sexuality and other important life stuff.

No judgment, no hate, because it’s already tough enough being a girl.

I’m going to be posting there every other Friday.  I had a fair amount of self doubt about doing so but the other writers are a  brilliant, friendly and supportive bunch who have been very encouraging and supporting. And I’m really enjoying the posts that they have shared.

The first week the site launched we each shared – What Makes Me, Me. That was a tough subject to write about as it needed more than a bio. But I think most of us found that.

Mine turned out to be a little different than planned. I had it written and then on my way home the night before I realised I needed to make a small tweak. Then when I logged online I saw an old school friend had died and ended up making more changes than I had planned.

What Makes Me, Me – Emma

My second post went live on the site yesterday morning. I spent most of the day out doing errands then having lunch with a friend in Oxford etc.  I came home to my twitter notifications full of really positive and encouraging feedback.

That post was about self worth and is called Because I’m Worth It.

 

Reading Down My TBR Pile (2016 Edition) – Week Seven

A mixed week for reading.

I binge read The Cake Shop In The Garden by Carole Matthews over two days and read the first 300 or so pages in pretty much one sitting.  I’d been wanting to read that for ages (borrowed it from a friend) and it was a fun read.  It was the sort of chick lit I really like – frothy and fun but still with a point to it and substance. I’ve been missing reading that sort of chicklit, so much of what I’ve read in that genre has felt like there was nothing to it.

And I finished listening to the audiobook of Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood.  She’s definitely becoming a favourite author of mine and I think I want to reread The Handmaid’s Tale which was the first of hers I read.  As for Lady Oracle – there were a few moments where the MC said stuff that really resonated with me and it was an interesting listen.  But as I got to the last few minutes I was struck with the thought that there was a point to it or a moral in the tale that I’d missed.

My First Decopatch Projects

As I mentioned a few weeks ago I got some decopatch materials for Christmas and planned to try them out this year (as an aside, a couple of the other things on that list are either booked or in progress). Someone asked when I wrote that earlier post if decopatch is the same as decoupage? Basically they are very similar but decopatch is less involved. I found this blog entry which explains it in more detail.

Mum had done some decopatch last year so we planned that I’d go to her house and she’d help me with my first project. Then that had to be cancelled twice when first I was ill, then she was. But on Sunday we both managed to a) be free and b) be well so I headed to her house for an afternoon of decopatch and then dinner.

I worked on letters that spell out Noel (Christmas present so it had to include a Christmas decoration, of course) when I was there. To start with I wanted to be quite precise and exact and follow a sort of pattern of “If I put a gold bit, then a green bit, then another gold bit” but mum told me that it’s meant to be more abstract and I do have to admit the ones I did completely randomly do look better.  I think if I were to buy myself some more papers I’d probably buy ones with smaller patterns that are less obvious.

The O in the set was a snowflake and whilst I didn’t find decopatch too fiddly once I got the hang of it all the edges on that put me off.  So whilst I decopatched the N E and L with left over Christmas papers from Mum’s project (she did Merry Christmas last year) on Sunday afternoon I left the O snowflake.  Then I bought some cheapy kids gold glitter paint and painted that instead.

Here is the finished project – I’m pleased with it.

decopatch noel(image description: decopatch letters spelling out NOEL. The N is in green paper with a red/gold pattern, there is a snowflake instead of an O and that’s painted in gold glitter. The E is in a red patterned paper that had snowmen and similar on although they aren’t as obvious and the L is in green paper with a different red/white/gold pattern. Click on the picture to view larger.)

The other item to be decopatched I got for Christmas was a hexagon shaped box and lid. I had a go at doing that on Tuesday.  I really, really like how that came out. I like it more than I do the Noel.

20160218_191657.jpg 20160218_191349.jpg 20160218_191312.jpg(image descriptions: three photos showing different aspects of the hexagon box and lid I decopatched. The top shows the box with the lid on, the second is a close up on the lid and the third shows the box with the lid standing up to one side of it so the detail is visible. The paper used is pink/blue with a gold pattern).

I think I still have a lot to learn with decopatch but I’m loving it so far and have several other ideas for projects!

Reading Down My TBR Pile (2016 Edition) – Week Six

I didn’t do a lot of reading last week (although I did listen to part of an audiobook – Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood which I’m finding intriguing and hope to finish this week.) apart from ridiculous amounts of fanfic and then all of a sudden on Saturday I binge read many short things on Saturday, mostly on the trains to and from Birmingham.

I finished Waiting for You by Catherine Miller which I mentioned reading in the last of these posts.  Full review here.  TL;DR I enjoyed it.

I picked up The Ladybird Book of Mindfullness for a flick through whilst in Foyles and ended up skim reading the whole thing (It’s short so it only took a few minutes). That’s bad but I couldn’t resist.  Seriously one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time.

Valentine’s Day at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn was next.  I’m enjoying the Star and Sixpence books but remain convinced that I enjoy novellas more in full versions. (This was free and I got a ARC of the first installment). And it made me want a cocktail!

Finally I read The Dance Begins by Diane Chamberlain.  Wow it’s been ages since I’ve read one of her books and I’m now wondering why that is? I’d forgotten how much I enjoy them.  I already have a couple of unread books of hers but The Dance Begins is the short story prequel to another book I don’t have and I’m trying to resist buyng that.  I think of all the authors I’ve mentioned in this post she is probably the one I recommend the most.

 

 

 

Waiting for You by Catherine Miller

Yay my first full book review of the year! It’s taken my much longer to get to my 2016 review books than I meant it to and I regret that now because this was good.

Waiting for You by Catherine Miller is being published by Carina as an ebook on 10th March 2016.  I received a free advance copy from NetGalley for review.

You’d never guess that Fliss Chapron doesn’t have it all

All Fliss wants is to see two blue lines telling her she is pregnant with her much longed for second baby. But as the negative tests stack up, dreams of completing her perfect family feel more hopeless every day.

After years of disappointment, Fliss’s husband Ben is spending more time at the office than in their marital bed, and Fliss finds herself wondering who could be responsible for their inability to conceive another child. Yet, where do you lay the blame when it comes to having a child – and can anyone really be at fault…

As Ben becomes increasingly distant, Fliss begins to question whether her desire for a baby is just a sticking plaster to save her marriage. Because in the end, how well can you ever know another person…even the man you’re married to?

I loved Fliss, she was a great character. Very believeable and easy to relate to.  Most of the character were like that – I hated the ones I think I was supposed to hate as well as liking Fliss and several others. I also liked the role that internet friendships play in this book, they are becoming more and more common in “real life” but I’ve not read many books with them in. I have some brilliant “internet friends” and I liked seeing a similar friendship in Waiting for You.

This book had many things I love in a good book and it kept me guessing with twists I wouldn’t have expected and moments that made me giggle.  One or two moments may seem a little over the top and unrealistic but I find life often throws moments that others may find unbelieveable when things get tough. It was brilliant and I hope to read more by Catherine Miller in the future.  Really as much as this was the perfect package with an ending that worked I would love to return and read more of the adventures of Fliss.

 

When I was reading this I read it in great sections and found it hard to put down.  I was reading it on the train to Birmingham yesterday and usually when we’ve gone through the last stop before New Street I’m distracted, half reading and most watching out to see where we are and keeping an eye out for the Bullring as a sign that I need to go wait by the door and find a likely looking passenger to act as ramp spotter. This time I was reading and I suddenly thought I should check where we were and Oh. There’s the Bullring already?

At that point my Kindle was saying I had twenty minutes left in the book. And I find that tends to be pretty accurate. So I decided I’d read another book on the way home – an hour and ten minutes to Oxford, then 20 minutes between trains and another 20 ish back here, starting something else made sense. I even decided which one while I was waiting for my friend. But then I got on the train and I couldn’t leave it unfinished. Cue me sitting on the train for a while having finished this and not sure what to do with myself (I eventually read a short story waiting for/on the second train)

 

Floundering or Drifting or Something Like That…

I don’t want to say that this week has been a bad week because I think on the whole the good things do outweigh the bad.  But it feels like it’s been a bit of a bad week and like I’ve not really achieved much.

Oh I’ve been to CAB and I’ve done most of what I usually do in terms of going out and about but I’ve done very little else and pretty much if I’ve been at home I’ve been on the computer, reading fanfic.

I’ve been saying I’m going to have a real bash at novel writing because 1) I really want to and 2) I’m going to a sort of writers meet up next month and I want to be able to say more than “Well, I’ve been blogging…” if the friends I see there (who I see maybe once a year in person) ask how it’s going.  It’s a simple plan. One hour a day. Maybe not even an hour in one sitting.  But I haven’t followed through.

I’ve got two errands I need to do in town.  They’d add 15, maybe 20, minutes to a trip to Sainsburys or to CAB depending on the queue. But we’re now something like three weeks later and they remain undone.

On Monday I blogged that I was going to do lots of reading this week. I haven’t even finished the book I planned to finish that evening.

The reality is it’s all fine and there are good things about this week. And I did need to be relatively quiet today because this weekend I’m doing crafts with Mum one day and travelling to meet up with a uni friend on the other which will be a long but fun day.  Plus last weekend had a busy day too.

But I feel a bit like I’ve been floundering this week and should have done more – the last couple of weeks have brought news of my Great Aunt’s death, the serious illness of an acquaintance and sadly, this week, the suicide of someone I was very close to as a teenager. It makes you think and it makes me think I should stop wasting time pissing about on the Internet reading bloody fanfic.  But I know the reality is I should do things I love and I love fanfic.

To round this entry off in a more positive fashion here are some positive things about this week:

I wrote a piece for another site and it’s had loads of great feedback

The group of writers for that site are very friendly and supportive.

I’m really enjoying the knitting I’m doing

I got to see some of my family I rarely see last weekend

At that family event I got cuddles with two babies (Henry, my nephew and Charlie, my cousin’s son)

I get to see Rach this weekend!

Last summer a friend and I had a completely ridiculous falling out and didn’t speak until this week when she started texting me again.

Mum and I went to Prezzo for lunch and it was yummy.

My absolute favourite chocolate which I don’t buy often due to cost is on offer so I treated myself to several bars.

 

Reading Down My TBR Pile (2016 Edition) – Week Five

I’ve read one book this week and most of a second.  I’ve also downloaded the short story next installment of a novella I read at Christmas – it was free so why not?

This week I plan to do a lot of reading so if all goes according to plan I’ll have a lot to write about in next week’s update.

I read Star Trek: Titan – Sight Unseen by James Swallow.  And I really enjoyed it.  It was a good reminder of how much I enjoy Star Trek books.  I love this this has a mix of Star Trek: The Next Generation main characters, some bit part characters from the various series, one Voyager main character and a few OCs.  More from Titan I think.  And definitely more from James Swallow. I have another unread Star Trek book from my birthday and I think I’ll be starting that tomorrow.

I’ve also been reading Waiting for You by Catherine Miller and I should finish that later.  It’s really good.  I received a free review copy and I won’t say too much here because I want to post a full review.  But it’s definitely one to look out for when it’s released in March.

You Know You Have CP When…

… you arrive at CAB, your supervisor lets you in and says “uh, Emma, you’ve got something pink on your footplate.” and offers to pick it up for you.

And before you even see what it is you know it’s a pair of knickers. And just lamely say “it’s alright, they’re clean.” while tucking them in your handbag. And then giggle and tell your other colleague. Because why the hell not?

In my defence my powerchair lives in front of the dryer and I’d gotten in it then swung round and fished for a fleece out of the dryer right before leaving the house.

But it’s not much of an excuse given that over the years I’ve

had a neighbour chase down the road to tell me I had a bra hanging off the back of my chair.

had another CAB colleague find a tea towel tucked on top of my batteries

Gone in to see the practice nurse to have her point out a scarf I didn’t know about on my chair

And had so many knicker related wheelchair incidents (including one where I had a pair stuck in my wheel and my friend had to borrow some scissors in Sainsburys coffee shop to cut them out) that my mum knew this one involved a pair before I even got to that point in the story.

I’d like to think that this is the last “oh, knickers!” moment I’ll have with my powerchair.  But then I am trying to be more realistic this year. And I know it won’t be.

 

Reading Down My TBR Pile (2016 Edition) – Week Four

I’m linking this post up with both this week’s It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? over on The Book Date and with the January check in for the Read Your Own Damn Books Challenge over on Estella’s Revenge.

I read one book this week. Spectacles by Sue Perkins.  That’s her memoir and I listened to the audiobook of it.  She reads that herself and I have to say that really increased my enjoyment of the book – it felt in a way like she was telling me the stories, anecdotes and memories herself.  Plus it was laugh out loud funny in places and more so when she’s giggling quietly whilst reading it.  Also I hadn’t realised just how much she’d been involved in TV – I mostly know of her from Bake Off and a few other odd things.

Part of me would like to read more memoirs this year and perhaps even more in the form of audiobook read by the author. But not just yet.

In terms of the Read My Own Damn Books Challenge I think I’ve done OK this month but not as well as I could have done.

I read seven books and seem to have accidentally abandoned an eighth part way through (found it this evening and realised I’d completely forgotten about it).

I bought one new paperback and one new audiobook both of which I read. I also received and read a paperback I ordered at the end of December.

I received a review book I requested at the end of December and requested and received two more. A fourth request is pending an answer. I haven’t read any of those.

I finished the Harry Potter audiobooks I bought in October/November last year and read a book that I picked up at a blogger event last March.

All in all I’ve read one more book then I’ve added this month.