Book Review. Santorini set A Terrible Beauty by Tasha Alexander.

I read one book by Tasha Alexander, which I loved and so I borrowed A Terrible Beauty before lockdown from my library.

It is an odd read. It isn’t a high-octane thriller. It has intrigue, crime and mystery – a dead man comes back to life!

I feel like the emotional depth of the story and its characters took centre stage. There were a couple of surprise moments and excitement towards the end. The build-up of the story is slow. I don’t mind slow. The setting of Santorini and Greek myths was a distraction. My best description of A Terrible Beauty can be found in the text, in this quote, ’High stakes but seemingly endless time in a prolonged state of expectancy’

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Jude’s Story. Pt 2.

CONTENT WARNING. Mentions alcohol.

The toilet flushes. The plumbing is sound. That’s good. I get diarrhoea. My poop is yellow.

I worry about it, but it’s faint now. I drink alcohol because of all my worries and that’s another one to toss into the big old bag of shit I carry around with me everywhere. You experience so much and then you find a way to cope and it numbs the pain. You might be a zombie but at least you can function.

I exist. I don’t live.

People were concerned, now I’m sure they think what an asshat, what a pain in the backside. Where is Jude going to reappear in my life next and will they even be sober, will I have to bail them out of a situation.

Depression makes you selfish. I think that is after so long neglecting yourself, depression moves in and it makes you into a vile person. A pity party of one. An angry, furious flaming ball of hate. It’s asking for help, for those needs to be met. But depression stinks and no-one wants to help someone who seems like they don’t even want to help themselves.

Addiction makes you selfish. All you want is that thing that will distract you, make you feel better.

The thing that is slowly destroying you. Destroying every opportunity. It will kill me. I don’t know if I care about that. I think about my funeral, and how many people will show. I think Steve would. I don’t think anyone else would. I wouldn’t even bet on them crying for me. If they did, that would be stupid. How dare they cry when they wouldn’t stick around. Sometimes I think I stay alive to spite them. Imagine if I rose out of the ashes, victorious. Imagine if I achieved happiness.

Depression AND addiction. It’s a good thing that I have my lighter moments.

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Finding Henry Applebee by Celia Reynolds

Finding Henry Applebee is only 99p on Kindle at the moment! Set in past Blackpool, historical romance – an emotional read.

Poetic Insights

Waterstones

Foyles for books

The story of Henry Applebee is primarily narrated by the man himself, although characters Ariel and Travis do take parts in being protagonists. The timeline of the story switches between past and present. I was unsure of this book at first, until I got the gist of which path the story was going to take. Not that it is predictable. There is a huge build up, you have to wait for it though. I liked the setting of the train station in the present and loved being in Blackpool for the past. This is a story of lost love and once you discover how Henry met this woman and lost her because of his insecurities (and mobile phones hadn’t been invented) it did make my eyes mist over.

Unfortunately, the story lost its way in its conclusion. I felt like the author was trying to repeat…

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shy girl, quiet girl

25 years anxious. I probably came out of the womb anxious. Where does that come from? You learn to be anxious, don’t you? You worry and worries become anxiety if something isn’t explained to you or you are unable to articulate worries so someone can help you navigate the thing safely.

I think my mum was very nervous about letting us children out to play and my parents are both not overly social. There were not many people that came into the family bubble. I don’t think things were explained to me. I think that’s the thing with anxiety. Anxiety is like an extra special app on your phone. It is difficult to explain it, when you think what is going on in your mind is normal. I knew there were kids in my class who could do bits that I couldn’t. They oozed confidence. I was aware I was quiet and shy and I was aware this was a problem because on all my school reports teachers remarked ‘she needs to talk more in class!’ I did think being shy was a disease. I hated it. I wondered how I could get rid of it. This shyness I needed to accept as part of my character, and I needed help with my anxiety, which was a separate component. I do think that’s how I become depressed as a teenager, because I had no close friendships or relationships. I was a solitary person. Who was smart but confused by so much. And so much could have easily been fast-tracked into being ‘normalised’ if I had someone to talk to about it.

When I was a kid, I had some worries. The dentist and toothache, films coming to an end, nits, having no friends, being first in the queue to go to assembly in school because I didn’t want to lead the line, kids being sick in class and I didn’t want to be the next to catch it and vomit in class, party games and not wanting a turn because I didn’t want the focus to be on me – ditto with my own birthday and blowing out candles on the cake, asking permission to go to the toilet in class, getting a non-speaking part in the Christmas play. Bloody hell, I must have been a bag of nerves!

I wrote a poem on this and it is posted on my Patreon, so if you would like to read more of my writing click here

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Book Review. Re-Reading Bad Girls by Jacqueline Wilson.

What else do you do at 3 o’ clock in the morning, when you can’t sleep?

Read childhood favourites, oc.

It is no exaggeration to say I read Jacqueline Wilson over and over again when I was a child.

I don’t think Bad Girls was one of my favourites, but close.

I remembered everything in this book. In typical Wilson style, the subjects that are in the story are so relatable to a young girl. Bullying, wanting to be friends with someone who is older and cooler, being embarrassed by your parents, being your own person and wanting to make your own choices. For a book that is only a hundred and seventy something pages long, Bad Girls is hefty. Tanya is a character I probably understand a lot more now as an adult and the concerns Mandy’s parents have in Mandy being friends with the ‘bad girl’ neighbour Tanya. I think Tanya’s character is not just a cliché of a stereotype of a child in the care system. I like the felt tip pen theme in the chapters too and that it is a bonding factor in Mandy and Tanya’s friendship. I think Jacqueline Wilson’s writing is very smart, as well as appealing. I am so keen to re-read more of her books now.

Shy, mild Mandy has been bullied at school for as long as she can remember. That’s why she is delighted when cheeky, daring, full-of-fun Tanya picks her as a friend.

Mum isn’t happy – she thinks Tanya’s a BAD GIRL and a bad influence on her daughter. But Mandy loves spending time with her brilliant new friend, and is sure Tanya can only get her out of trouble, not into it . . . or could she?

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