L: Her Chronicles by LauraLee (Book Review)

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“Lisa is living her dreams. However, her boyfriend Matthew, is not. The once hot and heavy romance soon reaches a standstill when their relationship hits a brickwall. With tensions rising the “honeymoon” stage starts to decline and threatens to end Matthew and Lisa’s relationship. Will their fighting and arguing end as quickly as it started or will they survive?”

This book was not quite what I expected. I only glanced at the description before getting started, so in my head I was going to be reading a romcom/love/life/Bridget Jones type story. I didn’t like the beginning very much and found the narrative disjointed.  I don’t know about anyone else, but when I am writing a journal (diary?) I wouldn’t be writing about several months of events on one day, or describe myself as having “hazel eyes as deep as the ocean” or “caramel skin” that makes me “culturally ambiguous”. It just struck me as a bit unnatural and as though the author was trying too hard to do some scene setting. I think the book would have been better starting with a bigger introduction to Lisa, or no introduction but dipping straight into her writing a journal entry in present tense. Or failing that completely scrapping the word journal, and just have Lisa writing about the events of the last few months to a friend. All a bit picky I know but these were all my initial impressions of the book.

Things soon becomes more interesting, and I found myself absorbed in the ‘love story gone wrong’. I hadn’t expected the dark and shocking plot twist, the words a metaphorical icy glass of water thrown in my face. What I liked in particular was the way the writing gave enough description to keep me engaged, without becoming overly dramatic or complicated. The storyline had a progressive flow to it, and I was entertained without the plot seeming rushed. I hadn’t realised it was a short story and began fully immersing myself in Lisa’s tale when it came to an end. I was disappointed as I wanted to know more about her life! The closing paragraphs brought the plot to the present, but I didn’t feel they added richness or context. I am wondering if they were included to pave the way for a second book, as questions were left unanswered.

Tab says:

Do read this if:

You like ‘real life’ stories

You like short stories

Don’t read this if:

You like books with a clear conclusion

 

Did you know…? (#SinglePersonViews)

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Did you know?….I would rather be alone, than lonely

Did you know?….Sometimes I want a cuddle and kind words, but I comfort myself instead of relying on others

Did you know?….I deserve to find a partner who feels like home (instead of an occasional Travel Lodge check in!)

Did you know?….Sometimes I am weak and sad. I feel sorry for myself, but then I remember happiness comes from within…not from flowers, promises, or being ‘rescued’ from my demons

Did you know?….I view being single as a positive. It isn’t my choice forever, but it is my choice until a partner becomes an equally healthy and positive option. I will never settle. Time is not a reason to lessen expectations

Did you know?…I have learnt love is not adrenaline, secrets, stolen moments; it is acceptance, honesty and continuity

Did you know?….I am proud to be my own hero

Did you know?….I am not left on the shelf – I am busy creating and improving my own life, instead of waiting for someone to ‘choose’ me

Did you know?….I am looking for a lighthouse, not a storm

Did you know?….I’m not sure I believe in ‘soul mates’ or ‘happily ever after’. But I do believe in souls, and choosing to be happy here and now

Did you know?… Partnerships do not need to be forced, the right person will not need persuading to be with me

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Finding Happiness…Initial Ponderings

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Do you live in the past, the present, or the future?

In my 30th year on earth I have finally recognised the concept of being present. Of course, there are many occasions when I have enjoyed and appreciated ‘the moment’; but as a rule I am guilty of either ruminating over the past or wishing away time to a glorious, less stressful future. I have struggled to appreciate the present – often because I have felt things aren’t going as I’d hoped, or I am pissed off with things I cannot change. I have compared jobs, relationships and homes to those I have had before, or made myself promises to make life better in future…saying that when I achieve certain goals I will finally be happy. I sometimes lose the ability to appreciate important events and fun times in a bid to capture them forever on my android (so one day I can look back on an occasion I didn’t fully take part in because I was viewing it through a lens!)

Rarely have I acknowledged that actually this moment, this minute, this second, is my life. At University I briefly embraced this concept without realising, and was often asked by friends if I was ‘ok’ as I sat in bars and clubs silently watching. My reply was always that I was “just taking it all in”. I attribute this mainly to the lack of sophisticated technology at the time, forcing people to actually speak in person, in real time, and update social media via desktops and USB cables at a later date!

Eating a chocolate bar and enjoying the flavour…taking the time to compose and send a text…feeling the cold rain hitting my face on a dog walk – this is as present as I will ever be. The past is gone, the future is yet to come.

 

“I will be happier when I finally……”

“Lose some weight”

“Go on a holiday”

“Finish my exams”

“Get a new job”

“Have a child”

“Find a partner”

“Get some sleep”

“Move house”

“Split up with my partner”

“Join the gym”

 

“I was so much happier when I…”

“Was with my ex”

“Was a child”

“Had less responsibility”

“Was slimmer”

“Didn’t feel heartbroken”

“Was on a better salary”

“Worked for that company”

“Was on holiday”

“Had something to look forward to”

“Had more hair”

“Felt fitter”

“Had more family around”

I’m not saying life is great right now, or that being present is a magical key to happiness. But right now is all you’ve got. It’s easy to take people, places or things for granted, but if you knew it was the last time you would see a sunset, hug a friend or drive your car, would you act differently? I’m not saying become morbidly obsessed with death or something terrible happening; but what I have to come to understand in this life is that the little things are actually the big things. We have affairs because we want excitement, but when our partner leaves we suddenly remember how much we love the smell of their perfume. We commit crime, but only when incarcerated do we appreciate the luxury of walking to the shop to buy a can of drink. We berate ourselves in the mirror for not having the right body shape, but if we were to be involved in a life changing accident would we wish for the functioning (too big, too small, too ugly) limbs we had back?

Time cannot be stopped.All we can do is embrace it and not wish it away. When we face hardship we would love nothing more than to not be in that moment. But in the future our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are all linked to our experience. Whatever is happening RIGHT NOW, as you enjoy or deplore the moment, is shaping your future without you even realising. 

Tab x

Ego or Peace?

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A short time ago, I received a parking fine. I was very annoyed by this as I had purchased a valid ticket, which had somehow flipped over on the dashboard so the date and time weren’t clearly visible. As soon as I got back to my car and saw the yellow penalty sticker I sent an email from my phone explaining the situation and attached a photograph of my valid ticket. I felt confident this would be sufficient to clear me of any wrongdoing and avoid any charges.

One week later I received a reply to my appeal – not upheld. Despite my apology, admission of being human, and account of what occurred the council in question were not willing to let me off.

 

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After reading this I was pretty enraged. Although technically I had failed to display a valid ticket it was fairly obvious it was a genuine mistake that I had attempted to rectify as soon as I had realised. My initial response was to not pay the charge and formally challenge it once I received the ‘Notice to Owner’ form. One thing I really hate in life is not feeling listened to, and this was a prime example of a big company exploiting an unintentional misdemeanour. (FYI The fine is from a local authority, not the private parking company issuing it)

The majority of people I spoke to told me not to pay it, and to fight back. This was also my natural reaction as I love to kick up a fuss when I feel unfairly treated, but the more I thought about it the more I began to change my mind. One of my friends pointed out that I couldn’t prove I had bought the ticket and that the council were unlikely to look through their CCTV, so in the long run I could potentially end up arguing the point then having to pay the full fine anyway. Although anyone with an ounce of common sense and decency would acknowledge that it was a genuine mistake as opposed to a blatant flouting of any rules, it seems this department are likely to squeeze money from individuals regardless of circumstance.

I am attempting to be objective about the situation now. I feel disappointed at the lack of empathy or consideration around this issue, but at the same time acknowledge I did not correctly display a ticket. Yes I can blame the wind, but I guess it was down to me to double check the ticket could be seen clearly.

 

 

I am not the richest person in the world right now…who is this time of year?! But as much as I can ill-afford to give £25 away for free, is it a big price to pay for peace? As strange as it sounds, I realised that my ego is the driving force for pursuing the appeal, because I know I paid for a fully valid ticket. At this time I can’t predict whether or not the greed of this company would override their ability to see sense, but it would be a risk – either resulting in not having to pay anything, or having to pay £50. The old me would definitely chase it up, complaining all the way. But my thought process now is…which would do me more good? Spending precious time complaining with an unknown outcome, or accepting the shitty situation, forking out £25, and moving on with my life?

The reason I have included this in my blog tonight is because I was thinking about closure, letting go, and acceptance. This process, to an extent, can easily be applied to lots of things in life, including relationships (whether romantic, friends or family). Sometimes we have messy breakups or arguments, resulting in a wish to prove we weren’t the bad one, the wrong one, the idiot who didn’t realise they were being taken for a ride. If my parking fine analogy is anything to go by, the message appears to be this:

You may have done everything right as far as you are concerned, and even tried to reach a peaceful conclusion. Some people are not going to be able to accept your truth even if deep down they know full well that you are right. When this happens it can be difficult to let go, and aggrieved parties can spend weeks, months, years fighting, arguing and wasting time. You only have to watch the Jeremy Kyle show to see grudges being held for way too long, and the need to be right (ego) overshadowing all common sense!! Occasionally the only sensible answer is to accept the things you cannot change, and learn a lesson so it doesn’t happen again.

It does feel great to be right, particularly when there are material or financial gains to be made. What I have learned this week is that despite that, I’m not sure it is worth the hassle when my time, and more importantly my inner peace is at stake.

 

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Nicole D’Settēmi’s Addictarium: A Review by Tab Sky

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https://twitter.com/nicoledsettemi

https://twitter.com/booktasters

‘Addictarium’ is a book based on the life experiences of author Nicole D’Settemi. (The disclaimer states it is to be read as a work of fiction due to multiple embellishments and imaginary characters.) I was lucky to be given a copy by the author through @booktasters (see the twitter link above).
I was dubious about the book initially, finding the opening sentences slightly clunky. Having been uninspired by other recent reads I was in no mood for overly generous critique, but Addictarium swiftly sucked me into its hazy vortex. I warmed to Danielle, her laissez-faire and spontaneous personality appealing to my curious nature. She was an intriguing character who drew my sympathy, yet exuded a gently arrogant and self-gratifying aura. Throughout the book there were themes of struggle – light and dark, sobriety and being high, addressing issues or burying them deep inside. Her detailed story unfurled without hindering the progress of the book, and avoided pitfalls of over-explanation or predictability. The book was raw, with base descriptions of sexual acts and drug taking, yet also projected a softer, more philosophical edge.
 “If you cage a human being, it becomes wild, an animal. If you cage an animal It becomes tamed.”
 D’ Settemi exquisitely smashes together the complexities of sex, love and addiction with the psychology of healing and self-salvation. She addresses the romanticism of a non-conformist lifestyle, yet paints a bleak future for those not willing to face their demons. Each chapter was poetic in its contrasting description – the grey concrete of life’s responsibilities and sobriety vs the over stimulating, fluorescence of instant gratification.
I enjoy a gritty read that talks to the deeper corners of my soul. Luckily for me that’s exactly what ‘Addictarium’ delivered!
Tab x
“Nicole D’Settēmi is a 34 year old creative writer, poet, and artist from Niagara Falls, New York. Born in a tiny town bordering Canada only five minutes from the legendary falls, Nicole says she had an eye for beauty at a young age, and that included poetry. She can remember from an age as young as six, being selected as part of the city’s “young authors club.” She was interested in lyric poetry from the time she was a pre-teen into her early-to-mid-twenties, and moved into creative writing and fiction in her late twenties and early thirties. Addictarium was penned while Nicole spent time in an intensive rehabilitation center due to a devastating heroin addiction, and while this is a fictional memoir, many of the themes and tales are based around her own experiences during her two year stay in the notorious Queens, New York “therapeutic community.”