Monday, May 29, 2017

Book Review: When It's Real

I was recently given the opportunity to review When It's Real by Erin Watt. I'm not going to lie this
book is a bit predictable but its still a fun read.

The description reads:
From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.
Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.
Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

There are some books that you read because you want to think or want something more intense (looking at crime fiction here) and other books that you read because you want something fun and mindless, this book falls in the latter. Which means it perfect to take on a holiday because while it's a page turner it's light and fluffly and there's no intense parts.
I really enjoyed reading it and found the charcters really well presented. Oakley is a rather complex character and each time I thought I knew who he was there was another element to him. Vaughn is trying to find her place in the world and is a creature of habit. Together these two characters help balance eachother out and its great to see their personalities start to change (for the better) because of their interactions.
The story was good and fast paced, a lot was packed in but there were no major plotholes. I will say I knew where the plot was going from the moment I read the description but all in all it was a fun book and I have no major complaints.

When It's Real comes out on the 31st of May and is available where all good books are sold.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Five Friday Favourites

Yesterday I did a post about not coping and a huge thanks to those who have reached out with their prayers and support. I just got sick of hiding that I'm not coping and realised that in order to be honest with myself I need to be honest with everyone else. I know we go through seasons of hardship but it just feels like mine are going on forever and I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I guess all I can really do is keep praying and take it one day at a time until things get better.
I have recently signed up to the website NetGalley that lets you request books for review so if you start to see a few book reviews around here that is why. I will say that all my reviews will be 100% honest and my hope is that you guys get to discover a new author or two and I will push myself out of my reading comfort zone at the same time.

Moving onto Friday Favourites which are a bit random but that's just how my life is at the moment so it matches.

Adam Sandler movies - I've been needing a laugh lately and nothing makes me laugh harder than an Adam Sandler movie. I know some people hate on him but his films really make me laugh and are a great distraction. I really like Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2 (it just gets funnier every time I watch it), Blended  (Terry Crews singing really makes the film) and Just Go With It. I think everyone has those movies that they watch when they are down and these are mine.

All Things New by Lauren Miller - This book is getting released in August and its a great read! I've struggled with finding a books with a character that has anxiety, it seems like the other mental illnesses are easier to represent in writing. Yet Lauren Miller manages to create a character that has anxiety in an accurate light and shows the inner workings that someone with anxiety may go through. I managed to relate to Jessa or more her thought process easily and was thrilled that someone could create a character that not only has anxiety but shows it accurately.

The blurb reads:
Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn't help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and noticeable scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels. Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but things go from bad to worse when she realizes she’s seeing bruises and scars on the people around her that no one else can see. She blames it on the accident, but as her body heals and the hallucinations continue, Jessa wonders if what she’s seeing could somehow have a deeper meaning. In her quest for answers, she falls for Marshall, a boy whose kindness and generous heart slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.
ALL THINGS NEW is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world.

I really enjoyed it and found that there was a lot more to this book than meets the surface. It was a fun read but was intense in some places, I never quite knew where the story was going and that was a plesant surprise.
The main characters were great and the way they were shown means that you could easily compare Jessa's thought processes to them and see just how anxiety affects people. If you come across this book I highly recommend that you read it.

Planet Shoes Town Boot - I hate getting my feet wet in winter so I mainly live in boots during the cooler months and I normally just buy a cheap pair because by the end of the season they are dead (as in I am gluing them together!) but this season I decided to treat myself to leather pair of boots. My Mum is a huge fan of Planet Shoes and these just so happened to be the first and only pair I tried on. They are super comfy and I love the height of the heel (not too high but it gives me a boost), they look and feel solid so I have high hopes for them this season. I have already worn them a few times and as the weather cools down I expect to be wearing them a lot more frequently. (I got them in black but I can only find stone on the website).

SpyFall 2 - if you know you will know that I love playing board games, a great Saturday night for me is me playing boardgames with friends and we love to try new games. I recently discovered SpyFall 2 and we all love playing it. It involves a lot of talking and asking questions and is quick paced game too. You can play with up to 12 players which means it is ideal for a big group. The aim of the game is that everyone gets 1 card with either a spy (there can be up 2 spys per round) or location you have to ask eachother questions to work who the spys are and the spys have to workout where the location is. The first rounds can be a bit challenging but once you get the concept its really fun.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe - I made these last week and I am still dreaming about them! This recipe is super easy and really yummy to make, the result is chewy chocolatey cookie that you can't just have one of. I increased the yum factor by chopping up a block of hazelnut chocolate which also meant the nuts added some crunch factor. In my books Bakerella can do no wrong so if you are after something to bake this weekend these are it.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Not Coping

Recently things have been a bit of a struggle for me, it seems like over a year of unemployment has caught up to me and I am finally breaking. For so long I have put up this mask, where I appear fine and act like being unemployed isn't crushing me but it seems as if the mask is refusing to stay put. I find myself loosing it day to day and would do anything for an escape. I now don't have good days or bad days instead I just have bad days with a few good moments mixed it. For so long I have been pushing away the tears and feeling as though they are sign of weakness but lately all I can do is let them fall.
I walked into my psychologists office on Tuesday and some of the first words out of my mouth were 'I'm not coping, I don't know how much longer I can keep doing this for.' because that is how I feel at the moment. It seems like everyone is getting a job except me, I'm not even getting job interviews at the moment! Of course my psych (have I told you how amazing she is?) pointed out that for anyone I am coping really well (even those without anxiety or a mental illness) and for the past year I have been coping at such a high level that now I have dipped despite still coping well it doesn't feel like it compared to the level I was on. I am allowed to feel this way and it's honestly expected after more than a year of unemployment.
I have tried so many times to write this post and it's been really hard but in order to be honest with myself I needed to write it down. So at the moment life isn't going well and I'm not coping, I am praying it will change but for now I am taking it one day at a time and trying to stay focused on the bigger picture.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Five Friday Favourites and a General Update

I apologise in advance is this seems a bit of a repeat of last fortnights Friday Favourites but its not!

Has anyone been watching Saving Hope? I am loving this season so much and will be sad when it ends, I have probably cried in every other episode so far but its been great how they have really gone deeper with the storylines. I always like it when series' get to end on a high note rather than get cancelled as I feel like you get to say a proper goodbye to the characters plus there's never any cliff hangers. I never in a million years thought that I would like Saving Hope as much as I do but there is nothing better than sitting down and watching the latest episode while trying to hold it together.

This past week has been a bit busier than normal due to appointments and catching up with friends. I saw my psychologist on Monday and it was just what I needed, she had been on maternity leave since September last year so it was great to see her and get her views on a few things. I go back to see her Tuesday week then I will go back to every 3 weeks which I find works really well for me.
On Wednesday I got stabbed yet again by my doctor when he removed a cyst. Thankfully the procedure went well and I just get to endure 2 weeks with stitches. So I am trying to take it easy and keeping on top of the pain killers for the next few days. I will say my doctor knows what he's doing and even does a more complicated stitch to reduce the risk of scaring (I scar easily) so I am thankful for that.
The job hunt side of things is still quiet and it's so annoying! I had my fortnightly employment agency meeting today and left with tears in my eyes just because I feel like I am getting no where. I know its mainly due to how bad the job market is but it would be nice to have some sort of progress. Last week I did apply to a somewhat promising job so I am praying I at least get an interview and have asked (begged!) my employment agency to ring up them on Monday to find out what is happening with my job application (it closed on Wednesday). I just feel so lost during this whole process and I have been on the verge of giving up a lot more recently. I know God has a plan for me but its really hard to see it at the moment!

We've finally had some rain, which means Winter is on its way! I splurged (by splurged I mean I had a $50 voucher and if it weren't for that I would never had been able to buy these) on some new boots this week and can't wait to wear them.

Kiss and Cry - I watched this the day it came out and I LOVED it. Sarah Fisher does a beautiful job portraying her last best friend and the chemistry between her and Luke Bilyk was flawless. I laughed and cried in it. I felt so inspired by it and found it was a great movie and a real legacy to Carley's work. You could that the movie had a lot of thought put in it and that Sarah was giving the performance her all. Nothing was half heartedly done and there was added touches of using some of Carley's words she had written on  her blog (if you get the chance do read it, it will add another element to the story and give you an insight to just how much Carley went through). I highly recommend that you watch it and know that when you do, you're helping Carley further her legacy.

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson - I LOVE Dee Henderson's books so much and despite not being a huge fan of mystery novels I can't seem to put hers down. Her latest book did not disappoint and while it did take me longer to get through it than normal (due to how intense it was) I loved every word of it. The blurb reads (taken from Amazon):
Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results--and quickly.
Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.
With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.

Bed Bath N' Table heat packs- I am always cold at night in Winter so a heat pack (or packs at times!) are a must for me (along with a cute ginger cat who does not know the meaning of personal space!) and last year I had to replace mine. I wanted something cute and couldn't resist this fox, when I first got Rikki I thought he looked like a little fox with his big eyes and white chest (he still does at times) so it seemed perfect (plus being orange means it won't get lost in my sheets during the really restless nights). The quality is great and the size is perfect to keep me warm at night, I find it really does hold onto the heat too. I was stuck at what to get Mum for Mothers Day when I saw this cute cat pack and know she will love it (I also love the bear and the owl packs). If you are after a gift or just want a pack to keep you warm I highly recommend these.

Elastoplast Sensitive Strips (and dressings) - I am allergic to latex and the one time its a problem is with band aids so for someone who is clumsy this isn't ideal. Thankfully I have discovered Elastoplast Sensitive Strips which cause no reaction and means I can leave them on for extended periods of time without a reaction. I also love their dressings for wounds (or stitches as the case may be at the moment!) as it means I can cut the perfect length for the area (I used this on my back when it was healing last year). I always make sure to have a stash with me and find that they stay on better than the normal ones.

Disney Descendents 2 trailer and music video - I loved the first film and the second film looks to be just as good :) so to end this weeks Friday Favourites on a high note here is the trailer and music video from the film:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Loosing It

I try to be positive about being unemployed but some days I just loose it, Friday was one of those days. I had had a discouraging employment agency meeting and just wasn't feeling myself, my anxiety levels were rising and nothing was going my way. Thursday I had a mini freak out about saying no to something and knew that my anxiety was rearing itself again and I could do nothing to stop except ride it out and take cover.
So Friday afternoon I let the tears fall, I was frustrated and annoyed and wanted an escape from this reality that is my life. I didn't lash out at anyone (thankfully!) but instead got annoyed at my situation and how maybe it was my fault for getting here, I should've fought more at my last job (we all know that that wouldn't have helped), I should try more to get a job (never mind the fact that that is what I am currently doing) and I should refuse to take no for an answer and stand up for myself (which would require confidence which I don't have). I got mad at God and told my mum how I felt he had forgotten about me because it seems like everyone is moving forward in their lives and that those who are looking for work get jobs within weeks and months (and deep down I still feel that way if I am being honest).
My anxiety was showing itself and it brought a lot of doubt which is still lingering along with feelings I thought I had hidden deep inside myself. I spent the weekend putting on an act that everything is/was fine despite wanting to run and hide. I found myself looking in the mirror and wondering who that girl was. I looked at my diary and reworked this week just so I can hide and get some down time in. I can't help but be thankful that I can use the excuse of catering a quiz night at church this Friday to avoid people, it gives me something to focus on and something to plan.
I am so so thankful that next Monday I have a psych appointment booked because I know that I need it now more than ever just to get over this bump in the road.
A lot of the time its easy to pretend that I don't have anxiety, but then I have these moments and my anxiety flares up for no reason and I am reminded that it's there and that it does affect me.
For now I am just riding out this phase and praying that in the near future I get a job.