Zara White suspects there's a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She's also obsessed with phobias. And it's true; she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane...but Zara's pretty sure her mom just can't deal with her right now.
All I can say is wow, wow I really enjoyed this book! And I NEED (hehe) to read the next one now! I really could not put this book down. It’s quirky and fresh, with just the right amount of romance. And it’s a nice quick read too, which is nice because sometimes that’s just what you need.
I love that Zara is obsessive about chanting phobias when she’s scared or stressed, she uses them as a way of feeling in control of a situation or as a way to understand the way she is feeling. It’s very character building and makes her interesting to follow through the story. She really is a great character, she strong and vulnerable at the same time as well as being realistic. She is a great role model; she is a keen Amnesty International member (something her dad got her into), and she loves to run. We constantly hear about her writing letters to try and get political prisoners freed. Zara is very unlike Bella from twilight whose character seems like such a boring person, I mean really what was she into? But don’t get me wrong, I love Twilight. All I am saying is Zara has way more of a personality than Bella. And yes this book does have a twilight feel about it.
She’s damaged goods when we first meet her. Her dad (stepfather) has just died and she has taken it really badly. She has become a hollow version of what she used to be, so her mother sends her off to stay with her grandmother so that she will hopefully recover from her zombie like state (or so she believes). We get little clues throughout the story which soon click into place about what’s going on. It’s a little bit of a mystery; Zara slowly learns who she really is and what others around her are…
I enjoyed that fact that Carrie really took her time to develop the relationship between Zara and Nick. She also managed to include the awkwardness of what the beginning of a real relationship is like. And she manages to develop Nick’s character so that he appears to be both sexy but not perfect. He has a bit of a temper but he is also just very protective of those he loves. Devyn was a great character too, he is disabled but he is also a strong person and attractive too. He is well integrated into the story as a shifter as well, but not your usual type.
And that’s what makes this story to fresh. Yes there are shifters in it, and yes it’s been done; but not like this. The shifters in this story are al sorts of animals, from tigers to bears, to wolfs and eagles. And what could be stranger than your own grandma shifting into a tiger? I can’t think of anything. And pixies.. Well I personally haven’t read a lot of books about pixies so this was great for me. I am hoping we hear a lot more about the pixies in the next books they seem like trouble, which I’m sure will make for great reading. Carrie Jones really did a great job with this book; she did a great job in pulling all of the different aspects of the story together seamlessly. She definitely got me hooked.
My partner Phil and I have been renovating our 1930’s bungalow house for near on two years now and man can I tell you I did not expect it to drag on quite this long. A little advice for any one out there who might be thinking of renovating some time in the future, plan, plan , plan before you start. And make sure you have more than enough money put aside to finish the renovation be fore you start. And trust me you will need more than you budget for, things will pop up that you just don’t count on and that’s not including the small to large disasters that can possibly happen, and set you way back.
So Phil is a builder, so we don’t have the added cost of paying for someone else to do all the work. Which is great! But, one thing we didn’t take into account when we first started was how long even a small job can take to do. And yes I am helping too, but there’s only so much someone unqualified in the process can do (Usually I end up on the end of a paint brush, much like I will be this weekend. But I have done my fair share of hard slog as well). So I would advise to put into your budget the odd helping hand, such as; you could employ a painter to do the first coat of paint on your house, which would free you up to do other tasks and trust me they will be a lot faster than you since they get lots of practise. Even better, budget for a painter to do the whole job and you get the added benefit of a great finish. And even more time for you to do other tasks. Cause seriously painting a house takes ages! And you don’t want to still be renovating two years later like we are, it becomes quite exhausting by this stage and we are both looking forward to a more normal life I can tell you. Or if you are really on a budget and cannot afford a professional painter try employing a few local teenagers who want a few extra dollars for there holidays, you may not get an amazing finish but it will save you time and won’t cost the earth.
I would also advise to do a lot of pre planning before you start as well. Look through lots of house and garden magazines and really get a good idea of the look you want. That way you can start trying to source items such as fixtures and fittings that will fit your look without wasting time and become disappointed when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Trust me sometimes it’s really hard to find the perfect door handle, as unbelievable as it sounds. You can try wandering around as many second hand shops and house wreckers’ yards to find unique pieces to fit in with your desired look. Phil came across a huge set of native timber doors which we have put at the end of our kitchen and open up onto our gable end deck, and they just make the room. And because they are native timber they match the rest of the house. I just love them.
Luckily for us we are coming to the end of the renovation, and are due for our final sign off in the next few weeks. I will be sure to put some pictures up of the finished product… as soon as it’s finished. Although a house is never quite finished is it…
Ok so Vampire Diaries Season 3 starts this Friday at 8:30pm, and I am freaking excited. It seems as though it’s been ages since last season, why do they make us wait so long? Anywho I am definitely looking forward to seeing some more of the luscious Damon, and secretly also Jeremy, Elena’s brother.
Stefan sadly just doesn’t do it for me. So a little advice to Elena from me, ditch Stefan and consol yourself in Damon’s arms, he is bound to give you more passion then boring old Stefan. Bad boys huh, there’s just something about them.
Ok so I’m off to buy my man a leather jacket… and possibly if I can find it a vial of bad-ass.
"Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight. When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another." ~ Helen Keller
If there was one thing my yoga teacher wanted to get through to me last night it was the importance of correct breathing in yoga. When you practise Vinyasa yoga you should be doing Ujjayi breathing, or as it is also called ocean breath or hissing breath. Vinyasa yoga is a breath-synchronized movement, which means with each movement a certain breath is attached be it and intake of air or and exhale. This conscious breathing gives you concentration, focus and control, and will empower your practise and build internal body heat.
Ujjayi breathing is a deep inhale and exhale through the nose with a focus at the back of the throat, which slightly constricts the passage of air. To try it; Inhale and then exhale mouth open, imagine that you are trying to fog up a pair of glasses. Now try this as an inhale as well, you should hear a sound or tone coming from your throat which sounds like the ocean, thus the name ocean breath. Now once you have this sound close your mouth and breath through the nose, make sure you are taking deep breaths. You should hear the same sound as when your mouth was open, and your breaths when practising should be 3 second inhales, and 3 second exhales. Beware you may sound like Darth Vader while trying this!
Now women do tend to find it more difficult then men for some reason, I have no idea why that is. But the thing I find hard is to make a loud sound, I can definitely make the sound and do the breathing properly but I can’t make it loud enough. Probably because I am focusing so hard on getting the pose correct! Any who, this is something I plan to work on over the next few weeks as it is an integral part of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.
The other thing I struggle with sometimes is exhaling and inhaling at the correct times as each movement is attached to either in inhale or and exhale. My teacher told me last night that usually any movement that you are looking upwards or your chest is moving up and out you should inhale as this is giving you full use of your lungs. And any time you face downwards or turn inwards it is an exhale as you are constricting the lungs. I found this explanation quite useful. Has anyone else had trouble with correctly breathing during yoga?Any tips for me or anyone else reading my blog? I would love to hear your views.
Kisses From Hell is a collection of 5 short stories about Vampires and love, they are written by 5 fantastic Authors who already have successful careers and many fan’s (including myself). Each of these stories is quite different from the next, some are your usual clichéd romance, and some you will need to expand your mind for as they are out of this world different.
The first story is Sunshine by Richelle Mead. Richelle wrote the much acclaimed Vampire Academy series, and in keeping with her series she wrote this short story in the same world she already created. The story is about how Eric Dragomir and Rhea Daniels came to be in love. If you haven’t already read the Vampire Academy series Eric and Rhea are Vasilisa’s parents, so it is a prequel if you like to Vasilisa. And if you’re a VA fan you will just absorb this story as fast as I did, can’t get enough of the VA world.
The second story is Bring Me To Life by Alyson Noel. Alyson wrote the addictive Immortals Series which is about Ever and Damen and their fight to be together. But for this short story Alyson delves into a new world where mist creeps in places it shouldn’t be and things are not as they seem. It is a real gothic Vampire story.
The third story is Above by Kristen Cast. Kristen Cast along with her mother P.C write the compelling House of Night novels. In this story Kristen has let loose her imagination and come up with an artistically written, strange but enticing tale of two races, one living beneath the earth and one above. Rheena does not belong below and longs to be free above, and when she finally finds her freedom she also finds love and her death. This story is very poetic and some will find it hard to follow.
The fourth story is Hunting Kat by Kelley Armstrong. Kelley is the Author of the Otherworld Series and The Darkest Series which I am yet to read. So I cannot comment on or tell you about it, but I can tell you it is on my too be read list. Kelley is a very accomplished writer though, and you can see this over at her website where you can see the list of all of her written works. Man that girl can write! Anyway Hunting Kat is a follow on about a character from Kelley’s The Darkest Series. And just by reading her short story I can that the series is well worth a read. I will get on to that!
The Fifth story is Lilith by Francesca Lia Block. Francesca is another Author whose books I have not read many of, apart from Pretty Dead which I read just before I devoured this collection. I absolutely loved her writing; it’s so gritty, different and poetic. But she did fail to astound me with Lilith, I enjoyed it but it was a sick romance. Lilith is a very dark story with a not your usual vampire. Even so the writing and story is great if not for a romance and Francesca has a huge array of novels that I plan on getting stuck into.
I must admit most of these stories left me feeling like the romance was missing. It’s as if they have been toned down completely so 11 year olds can read them without freaking their parents out about what they are reading. And in some of the stories the romance was strange and disturbed, but I suppose it is called Kisses From HELL. So that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them, I would go as far to say that they have reopened the short story genre to me as I have never really enjoyed reading them.
Ok so these are five books I am excitedly awaiting the release of in the coming months.
Alyson Noel’s 4th book in her immortals series ‘Everlasting’ is due to come out in two weeks in America, but not until August the 11th here in New Zealand. Man we have to wait ages for books here!
Passion by Lauren Kate releases on 17th of June in New Zealand. It's the third book in the Fallen series, and a prequel to everything that occurs in Fallen and in Torment. Should be interesting…
The third book in the wolves of mercy fall’s series by Maggie Stiefvater, ‘Forever’ releases in New Zealand on the12th of June. So not long to wait for this one!
DarknessFalls, Cate Tierman’s 2nd book of her Immortal Beloved Series is due out in September this year.
And last but definitely not least, the book I am most looking forward to being released. Silence, by Becca Fitzpatrick is due to be released on October the 4th!
So I don’t have too long until I can feed my addiction for these series. But in the mean time I am swiftly working my way through the House of Night series by P.C and Kristin Cast. And I’m loving it so much that I am already on book number 5 and I started the series about 2 weeks ago. Phew.
Today I wanted to share with you all Martin Luther King, Jnr’s famous ‘I have a dream’ Speech. Now I know most of you won’t read the whole thing because it’s really long, but I hope you give it ago because it is truly inspiring.
I have a Dream
~ Speech by Martin Luther King, jnr.
I’m happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
Today is world smoke free day YAY!! And that makes it a great day to give up on the old sticks, or at least a great day to have a day off them. I personally don’t smoke but I know many people who do and it does scare me to think that because they smoke they are in danger of dying early, as one in two long term smokers who don’t quit, will die early. It is a fact that in New Zealand smoking is the single leading cause of preventable death, and every year we lose 5,000 people from smoking related illnesses.
And it’s not just themselves who smokers are hurting.New Zealand research shows students who had at least one parent who smoked were three times more likely to be daily smokers, compared with those whose parents didn’t. Also every day one non-smoker dies as a result of exposure to second hand smoke. That’s 350 New Zealanders every year who die because they inhaled the toxins from someone else’s smoke. Sidestream smoke (smoke from the burning end of a cigarette) contains cancer-causing chemicals which are more highly concentrated than those in the smoke inhaled by a smoker.
So if you’re a smoker and you don’t plan on giving up anytime soon, make sure that when your about to light up you look around you first and ask yourself; Where are my children? Is anyone going to walk through my plume of smoke? And if you find that it may effect someone move to somewhere safe for others. It always disgusts me when I see a mother smoking in the car while her children are sitting in the back seat breathing in all of the smoke that’s drifting back to them.
So today I challenge all of you who smoke to either try giving up, even just for one day, or at least be more aware of who’s around you when you’re smoking. You won’t believe how good you’ll feel if you kick the habit. And it’ll be great on your pocket! Thus you can go buy those jeans you’ve been dreaming about…
Synopsis: Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she's ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and all that a girl could ever wish for. She's always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gatehouse is a world away from Tamara's childhood. With her mother shut away with grief, and her aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin. When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its' core.
I really enjoyed reading this book, the setting in rural Ireland with the old ruined castle near by and the leather book which gave Tamara a view of what could be gave it a magical touch. The book is heavy with tortured family themes, which made it more realistic and I liked that. After reading a lot of paranormal romance books and kind of burning myself out on them this was slightly refreshing in that sense.
Tamara is a messed up teenager trying to process the suicide death of her father; along with losing the mansion house she grew up in due to the debt he left them with and having to move far away from her friends and school and everything that was familiar to her. She also has to deal with the strange way her mother reacts to her father’s death, and the absence of a protective figure she feels from it. She is alone in a sense; in place she has only visited a few times, with no one to comfort her.
We learn though out the book that growing up Tamara was not a very nice daughter to her parents. She grew up in a world were she could have almost anything she wanted. Her parents were wealthy but they didn’t really give her the loving attention that children need. So she grew up without a healthy respect for them, but after being put in the situation she was, she learned that the way she had acted was wrong. The book that she finds manages to help her to understand what is right and what is wrong. And she makes some new friends along the way; ones that are not shallow like the old friends she left back in Dublin.
Cecelia develops a rich character for Tamara; she’s not exactly likeable, but that is what I liked about her. She wasn’t your usual protagonist character. But by the end of the story you can she that she has grown up a lot and that she will never be the same bitchy person she used to be. The diary helps her to change into this better person by giving her the option to do things differently and create a better outcome. Cecelia also does a great job with the other characters of the book; my favourite would have to be old Sister Ignatius, who is funny, witty and creative beyond how a nun should be. She is the most amazing character, who helps Tamara discover who she really is.
The cover of the book is just beautiful; this is what made me pick it up in the first place. It truly has everything this book, secrets, mystery, magic, romance, grief, comedy and lessons to be learnt.
"All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him.
If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought,
happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. "
I don’t know about all you guys but I love Marchesa dresses. It seems that on every red carpet you look, someone is rocking one of their unique dresses. They seem to be a staple for the young Hollywood gals; I guess you just can’t go wrong. Here’s a little info I found about the Marchesa team:
British born Georgina and Keren met at ChelseaCollege of Art and Design in London. Georgina, a 2001 graduate of the Wimbledon School of Art, began her career as a costume designer. Keren graduated from BrightonArtCollege in 2000 and subsequently focused on print and embroidery design. Georgina’s draping and design expertise paired with Keren’s textile creations resulted in a business partnership and the establishment of Marchesa in 2004. Elegant eveningwear, inspired by vintage and Asian influences, defines the Marchesa Collection. The beautifully crafted designs fuse high fashion with an eclectic aesthetic. Co-founded by Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, the company’s namesake and muse, Marchesa Luisa Casati, is the noted eccentric European style icon. Based in New York, the Marchesa collection is presently available in Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman in the United States, Harrods in London, and specialty boutiques such as Holt Renfrew in Canada, Podium in Russia, Alothman in Kuwait, Boutique1 in Dubai, and Joyce and Lane Crawfordin Hong Kong.
Check out these celeb’s rocking Marchesa dresses…
And these are just some more Marchesa dresses I love…
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” ~ Coco Chanel