Traveler. Novelist. Freelance Writer. Blogger. Surfer. Artist. Crazy Cat Lady.

Traveler. Novelist. Freelance Writer. Blogger. Surfer. Artist. Crazy Cat Lady.

Friday, April 21, 2017

November 9 by Colleen Hoover | Book Review

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4/5 Stars for November 9!

A love story about a writer and his unexpected muse... it sounds cliche, no? Believe me when I say this book is far from that!!!

Our main character is Fallon, a once up and coming actress who got 30% of her body burnt in a fire, instantly bringing her acting career to an end.  On the anniversary of the day of the fire, she meets Ben, an aspiring writer. Their spark is instant and undeniable but their time together is short as she is just about to move across the country to New York to try and pursue acting again. 
Their crazy whirlwind romance ends with them promising to meet up every year on the day they met to see where their lives are - and this inspires Ben's debut novel. As Fallon begins to read snippets of the book she starts to wonder if Ben is being honest about how he knows her and if some of the horrific parts of his novel are fabricated or the heart-crushing truth...... 

This book is sectioned off in the years that follow, based on the day that they met, November 9th. 

Confession. I am a full-blown Colleen Hoover addict. She is a drug. Like cocaine... but this is CoHo.... and I should really be in rehab right now but I just can't stop devouring her books!

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You need to be a certain type of person to enjoy Colleen Hoover's writing. You need to be brave... really brave... and strong, because her books really will tear you apart. You also need to be sexual (if 50 Shades was too much for you then don't even go near her books... BUT... you should... because they are fan-bloody-tastic!). You also need to be open-minded. You need to have a certain sense of humor... almost dry humor. Sadistic humor. 

FYI: Read Ugly Love before you read November 9. Some of the characters from Ugly Love are IN November 9 which was such a stunning surprise!!! Really enjoyable if you're a die hard CoHo fan like myself...

At the start of this book I was thinking to myself, hmm this seems an awful lot like 'One Day' by David Nichols.... two people meeting up once a year on the same day and seeing where their lives are at etc etc... then it actually REFERENCES One Day as well... Now, One Day is my all time favorite book... and although they are very similar in some ways, they are entirely different in others.  
This is an absolute gem of a novel, brimming with unforgettably earth-shattering quotes and a love truly like no other (as cliche as that may sound... trust me). 

Once again, Colleen Hoover had me whimpering and sobbing in a corner - not ready to face the world for a while. Her books are SO full of love and angst - it's the most incredible combination and she pulls it off every single time. 
The plot twists were jaw-dropping and left me curled up in a devastated heap under my blankets. 
This book will also change your perspective on instalove (which lets face it, we all pretty much despise in books!!). ONLY Colleen Hoover has the ability to do that. 

Image may contain: one or more people, guitar and indoorFallon as the main character..... Okay, I love how you get her growing confidence throughout the novel and it IS wonderful to have an MC that isn't some beautiful girl ... she's scarred. Literally... and with someone with a skin problem like myself, it added so much more depth to the story. It inspired me. My condition is nothing like hers, having 30% of your body burnt from a fire... It makes me feel blessed to have such minimal problems in comparison, but this book really gave ME confidence somehow too. The love interest Ben makes Fallon feel beautiful, even more beautiful than before the fire... and that is so stunning.... when she gets to the stage where she OWNS her scars... I just love it. SO inspiring.  
There were things I didn't like about her character though... I felt like she was far too dramatic, riddled in jealousy... there were just a few things that I wasn't entirely happy about. I also found a fair bit of this novel to be far too cheesy, cringe-worthy and dramatic...
I listened to this book on Audible. You know... I keep SAYING this about CoHo's audiobooks.... something is just off with them. This one for instance, the female narrator spoke in slow motion. It was ridiculous. It just sounds SO computerized and weird... but besides that, I loved the story.
One other thing I actually found really enjoyable about this book was that Fallon's job is as a narrator for audiobooks and the love interest, Ben, is an aspiring writer who starts working on his debut novel which is all about his unique and heartbreaking relationship with Fallon. Ben as the love interest - the majority of CoHo addicts adore him. I'm torn. He's cheeky - which is good - but perhaps a little too cheeky and sexual.... SOMETIMES I feel like Colleen Hoover's books and characters can get a bit carried away sexually. Her sex scenes are PHENOMENAL and for the most part, elegantly done... but sometimes toning it down just a tad would do wonders.

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Overall, I loved it. I love all of her books. I love Colleen Hoover in general and I think her books and my books should just go off and have little bestselling JACO (Jade / Colleen) babies. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The After Effects of a Break-Up

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Right... I feel like it is time to write again. Write something. Write anything. I guess a life update would be a great start... don't expect this writing to be profound and groundbreaking. This is just me placing my fingertips on the keyboard and letting the words spill out of me. This is me listening to the pitter patter of the keys as my hands glide across the board effortlessly. It is like second-nature to me... and it has been so long since I have just typed... just let it out. So here goes.... 

Besides my last two posts which are both book reviews (nothing personal to see there...), the last 'personal' post I wrote on here was on the 25th January.

I was still in Mallorca, Spain. 
I was battling with a lot of demons in my mind. 
I weighed a mere 36kg because of stress and heartbreak. 
I was in the darkest place I have ever been. 

On the 24th January something inside of me snapped. It was like I had finally woken up and realized I deserved more. I had heard something that altered my perspective completely: 

"If you're falling asleep next to somebody every night but yet you still feel alone, why not rather be alone?"

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On the 25th January, I changed my life after months of trying to figure out what the hell to do. On the one end, I was in love - besotted and yet heartbroken over a man that had disrespected me for over a year. A man who cheated on me with 8 women and never considered me a priority. I was lied to and I was hurt. I was made out to be the crazy one - and perhaps I was. I was crazy to have stayed in that situation for as long as I did... but what people who haven't been in that kind of situation before don't realize is that there is so much more than meets the eye. You'd think after what my ex did to me, it would be an easy decision to just 'walk-away' and 'move on'... I wish it was that simple. I think that's how you know you really loved someone... but it was more than even that. I had attached myself to him in a way no body will ever understand. He was the first guy I fell for after my ex fiance. He meant everything to me. I had come so close to a life of marriage and babies - a life so many of my friends are venturing into right now and leaving me far behind on the other end of the proverbial field... whereas a few years ago I thought I'd be the one at the end of the finish line waiting for them there. I never thought it would be the other way around. 
So.... when I met Simon, I did everything possible to make us work. I gave up my amazing job at the art gallery and fought fires (literally), qualified to work on the yachts and then moved all the way from South Africa to Spain. I realize NOW how stupid I was to be the way that I was. I'd have literally done anything for him if he asked me to... and now I see a relationship shouldn't be that way. From here on in I am done with putting other people first. I need to respect myself enough to go after what I WANT in life - and yes, I wanted him and I went for that... but I didn't factor in that he's another person and he has his own set of WANTS too (had I known from the start his wants were a million other women to juggle and string along things would be mighty different right now). I didn't think of his wants though.... and I didn't think about the fact that I didn't WANT to work on the yachts and scrub people's skid-marks off of the inside of the toilet bowl. I didn't WANT to leave my cat and my nephew and my car. In Spain I became completely reliant on Simon and let me tell you this - I NEVER 'WANT' to feel that way again. But I digress.... 
Let me be honest. It was a fun year for the most part. We had a lot of fun together.. surfing, fishing, hiking, camping, kayaking... it was great. It's a life I loved in fact but then I found out about all those women after MONTHS of me wondering and asking him if there's anything I should be worried about. I guess in my mind I always knew he was cheating on me, I just didn't want to believe it... and every time I asked him why he put his phone away every time I came close or didn't answer a phone call because I was there he always told me I'm imagining things. I'm causing problems out of nothing... and I started to believe that. He made me question my own sanity but deep down I always KNEW something was very, very wrong.
We made the decision to stay together after I found out about the cheating. Everyone warned me against it, even his own friends. They all said if I do choose to stay then I need to be able to put the past behind us and start fresh. I tried... but I just couldn't do it. 
I was so petrified every time that asshole was on his phone. I constantly wondered who he was texting, where he was, who he was with etc etc etc... it was so unhealthy...
Because I couldn't forgive him and I couldn't get past my fears we started to argue.. a lot. That arguing turned into vile, violent anger. We were toxic... and a lot of it was my fault because I chose to stay when I should have walked away. 
It got to the stage where he didn't spend any time with me because every time we did have together was awkward, awful and we always wound up in a fight. I used what he did to me as ammunition and that's something you really can't do if you choose to take back someone that has cheated on you. Look, personally if someone ever cheats on me again I would never stay. Not for one second. I learned the hard way. I don't think you can ever truly get over it when you've been cheated on.... I know I couldn't. 
But I digress, again.
So.. without us spending any time together we couldn't heal. It was useless and day by day I withered away to skin and bone with blood-shot puffy eyes from crying myself to sleep every night. I wasn't eating because I was so broken that I'd lost every inch of my usually phenomenal appetite.
In layman terms.... I was fucked.
Making the decision to leave was the hardest thing I have ever done. Walking away from someone you do love regardless of how badly they have hurt you is gut-wrenching... but I finally made the decision when our fights when us both with scratches and bruises, smashed up phones and broken surfboards. It was absolutely disgusting. I was shattered, embarrassed and done. 
Image may contain: 1 personI went to the airport with no flights booked and no plan. Funnily enough, that had always been my dream. Absolute freedom. But because of my relationship I hadn't left Mallorca to work on proper yachts so I had hardly no money. I felt hopeless, useless and confused. I didn't know where to go. I wanted to go back home to my family, I'd never needed them more... but the flights to South Africa were too expensive. I felt stuck in Spain and I just wanted out. 
Eventually a plan formulated. Ireland. The one place I have always had to go to before I die. So I hopped onto the first flight out of Mallorca which just happened to be going to Madrid. 
I cannot express that feeling of lifting off the airport runway and knowing I would never be returning to Mallorca. The place I had thought would be my new forever home. My dreams were crushed, my heart was broken. I cried. I didn't stop crying for hours. 
I took a taxi to a hotel and was so broken I fell onto the bed and sobbed myself to sleep. Waking up the next morning alone in a strange hotel room, reality hit. I was out. It was a confusing feeling.. I was free from that God awful relationship but I was going to miss so much about us. Before I'd found out about what he did behind my back, we'd had such an incredible time together... so much so that I was in disbelief that he could have ever wanted to cheat and flirt with other women... I just didn't get it. It had all been a lie. 
I flew to Dublin and stayed in a tower overlooking the ocean for about a week with an unlimited supply of every alcoholic beverage under the sun. If there was one way to get over heartbreak, this was it. 
I wish I'd seen more of Ireland but with my limited funds I couldn't explore much or even really do much. But I did see Temple Bar and meet some of my amazing friends.

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On my first day in Ireland I discovered that my ex was already back on Tinder (another thing he'd been doing throughout our entire year together behind my back.... How fucking embarrassing!). I say I discovered that he was already back on Tinder but really, he was probably never off it in the first place. This was another huge blow. I'd left him and he didn't care. He felt no remorse. He didn't even give himself a chance to miss me... just hopped right back on to find his next victims. I shouldn't have expected anything less... once again. 
What I really didn't expect though was when he decided it was a good idea to bring the first girl he ever slept with behind my back to South Africa with him for the holiday that we had planned together. He took her to all the places he'd promised to take me and did all the things we had planned to do together.  
It's all a bit sickening and twisted to see just how easily he can slot in another woman to take do all the same things as we did together. It's also insulting... but should I expect any less from a man who did what he did? A man like that.... not a 'man' at all really.   
They are together now... and I feel sorry for her. He's a narcissistic asshole and he's never going to change. Never. He will never treat a woman well and he's already sending me pictures, recipes and messages again - completely ignoring my request that he leave me the hell alone. Who does that!? The prick cheats and hurts me more than I have ever been hurt, gets with the one girl he KNOWS would shatter me completely and then starts sending me videos of his bratty child surfing. Like I CARE about him and his child anymore. FYI. I don't. Send those pictures to your new Spanish slut, please and thank you. Leave me out of your pathetic going no where life. 
BUT I DIGRESS.... once again.

Image may contain: 1 person, smilingGetting back to South Africa I knew I didn't want to stay in Knysna. I'd written my mother out of my life and going back there would have felt like going backwards in life. So... while I was busy trying to figure out if I wanted to move to England, PE, Cape Town or Durban (JHB was never an option... obviously) or go and live in a bungalow in Bali for a few months and finally finish my novel... I met a guy. We clicked instantly and had an intense spark - he also lived in a part of Cape Town I had fallen head over heels with a year beforehand and so I made my decision. 
Now, this may sound like I am cocking my life up all over again.. moving to Cape Town for a guy just like I moved to Spain for one.. BUT I didn't move here for him. I moved here for me. It was already one of my options. And the second I got here I scoured the internet and found my own flat and got a job within a few days. Sadly that jobs salary was pathetic but then life decided to be nice to me for the first time in a while. 
I was offered my dream job here - at an art gallery close to the Waterfront. I am back in the world of art and adjusting to city life... I am happy. As happy as I am now though, I am still in a very bad place in my head. I can't trust... my confidence is gone... my insecurities have taken over my life and I hate it. It does effect my relationship - and sometimes I do wonder if I got into something else far too soon. It isn't fair on him for me to be so scared and cautious... but he's so understanding and he needs to be because with my history, it is going to take a lot to get me to trust... if I ever even will. Above and beyond my major trust issues now, I also have this heavy fear of being unlovable. Sam and Simon really shaped that fear for me... so did my mother. I need so much reassurance now. And I'm really confused and torn because as much as the word 'love' petrifies me, it's all I want to hear. It's all I need to hear. I want to feel loved again. I think I was so used to being in these long term relationships where the 'Í love you's ' were in abundance... and yet now I haven't heard those three words for so long... I miss them. I want them back. I want to feel loved. But.... I don't know if I can actually love again. I don't feel like I can love anyone anymore, not even my family. That's horrible to admit... but I've closed myself off to it completely. My love has been so disrespected that I think all the love I had to give is gone. I don't want to allow myself to love again because it just ends in pain. Everyone always lets you down. Everyone always ends up leaving. 
I don't mean to sound so miserable... because I'm actually not! I am happy. I feel so much better now that I have left behind my ex and Spain...  it's just left me a bit, damaged. 

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Holy Cow: A Modern Day Dairy Tale by David Duchovny | Book Review

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5/5 stars!!!

This is a eminently comical book filled with wise-cracks and wit but has surprisingly and effortlessly delivered some really important messages about acceptance, culture, mutual respect and understanding. 
It is a reminder that animals are not the mindless beasts purely there to serve and feed us as many of us in the human race seem to think they are. 
One thing that our MC, Elsie the cow, says in this book really stood out to me. She said something along the lines of: humans shouldn't have the privilege of being called an animal because we don't deserve it. She says that she thanks every blade of grass when she's grazing in the field. 
That's respect for nature at its finest and it is how many of us forget to be. While getting that point across, Duchovny doesn't do it in a preachy way. It's lighthearted and it's FUNNY. 
It's a completely crazy (yet oh so very true!) globe-trotting story that requires you to leave your sense of reality behind. 
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This is a bizarre tale of an American cow who sneaks out from her pasture to go flirt with the bulls but instead ends up discovering the horrors of the slaughter house. Planning her escape to a safer life in India where cows are holy and worshiped, she embarks on a journey with two unlikely companions, a pig called Shalom, who has recently converted to Judaism and Tom the Turkey who can't fly. 
The writing is absolutely fantastic. I am so impressed with David Duchovny as an author (and not just because I think he's a bloody gorgeous and extremely talented actor...). His writing is daring and I just loved it!!! I found myself full of laughter throughout this book. 

Favorite Quote from the Book:

"So I guess it's not so important that dreams come true, it's just important that you have a dream to begin with, to get you to take your first steps."

I listened to this on Audible and absolutely adored David Duchovny's narration of his work. I think every book should be narrated by Duchovny #justsaying ;)

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty | Book Review

Pure, sinister, dark and riveting excellence! 

This is a book about a bunch of kindergarden mothers and the scandal in their lives! 

What I had originally thought was a thriller turned out to be so much more! While this book is a murder mystery it isn't 'scary; besides the scariness of reality. Each character has instability and a situation in their life that could happen to any one of us... the characters were so enjoyable and easy to relate to - they seemed like almost real people to me. 

This is a book that really keeps you guessing! Going into this book we know that someone has been murdered but we have no idea who the victim is nor do we know who the murderer is. This book was fascinating, the plot and format is so creatively done. I loved the interviews with the sideline characters at the beginning and ends of most of the chapters, discussing the events leading up to the incident. 

The writing was absolutely fantastic and so descriptive. The story was incredibly mysterious and unputdownable. Even Stephen King had fabulous things to say about Liane Moriarty's, Big Little Lies!

It covers many elements such as domestic violence, rape, bullying and the effects of social media. It makes us realise as a reader just how sickening and fake our online lives can possibly be and how we are all far too concerned about what others think of us. 
As serious as this book is, it throws humour in right where it is needed to give you a bit of a break from all of the motherly drama this book entails. The humour isn't overdone either. It is perfect. The entire book is perfect! PERFECTION.

Every character was so complex! I loved how we got to know each one and their back stories. 

I must admit that there were a few things I found quite predictable in this book but on the contrary there was so much that was so Unpredictable that it really didn't matter to me. 

There's a quote concerning the domestic violence featured in this book that I really want to share and briefly talk about:

"She wanted to let him know that at least one person here today understood all the mistakes he'd made along the way: the times he hit back, the times he stayed when he should have left, the times he gave her another chance, the times he deliberately antagonised her, the times he let his children see things they shouldn't see. She wanted to tell him she knew all the perfect little lies he'd told himself for all those years, because she'd told herself the same lies."

Unless you have personally been in an abusive relationship it really is so hard to understand. If your friends and family know you are in one and you don't just walk away, they judge you a lot of the time. They don't see how hard it can be to cut those ties. They don't see how there is still feelings involved.. feelings and fear and so much more that is so hard to explain but Moriarty did it perfectly. That aspect of this book REALLY hit a nerve with me. I related whole-heartedly and it was so very real and scary to understand Celeste's character as much as I did. 

This book was just... WOW. I loved it. Now for the mini series featuring Nicole Kidman, Reece Witherspoon and Laura Dern :)

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Day #9: 30 Day Writing Challenge

Post some words of wisdom that speak to you:

This could not have come at a better time..... last night when I was having yet another night alone (as always these days) I started watching some videos on youtube about how to walk away from toxic relationships. The entire video was extremely insightful and helpful but something stood out more-so than everything else combined:

"If you're falling asleep next to somebody every night but yet you still feel alone, why not rather be alone?"

That one question changed my perspective on everything. 

The same woman also spoke about how she found a journal her brother had written in the day before he died and the entry was so sad. He had been miserable in life. 
My own journal for literally every day of 2017 so far is filled with 25 pages of sadness, anger, pain and confusion. I am miserable too..... and I realised last night that if I die, I don't want to nothing but a morbid journal to remember me by. I don't want to be sad. I want to be happy. So you have to choose for yourself....

One day or day one. 
You decide. 

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