Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The awesome Wentworth Miller

This is Wentworth Miller.

He's an actor, most recognisable - or at least to me - for the 2005 show Prison Break. To be honest, that's the only thing I was really aware of him doing and I wasn't even a particular fan of that show about, you guessed it, a prison break. (Unless it's got romance in it, I'm not likely to be interested!)

Anyway, since Prison Break ended in 2009, I hadn't heard anything about him since. Until today that is.

Today I was made aware of a Facebook post a group called Lad Bible had placed on their page.

Now, I don't want to be as mean as I will soon tell you that the Lad Bible were, but I can't help but feel that nothing good can come of a site who states: "One of the largest communities for guys aged 16-30 in the world. Send us your funniest pictures and videos!" But anyway...

 Yesterday, this appeared on their Facebook page:

Yeah - hilarious, right? Can't wait to see the rest of their 'funny' content. *rolls eyes*

But did Wentworth get mad and stoop to the same level as Lad Bible? Oh no - he took the high road and what a bloody awesome high road he took.

How powerful. How inspiring. Yet how absolutely heartbreaking. If I can say anything positive about my own struggle, at least I don't have to do it with the eyes of the world watching me and just waiting for me to slip up or show weakness. And as he says, he dealt with that watching and waiting without anybody even knowing what he was going through.

Now, I do offer a teeny, tiny bit of kudos to Lad Bible for offering this apology.

...but, I do have to say that I can't help but feel that they're only offering this apology because Wentworth confessed to his mental health issues.

If, for example, he hadn't said anything, or if he'd mentioned he'd hurt his ankle, couldn't get to the gym and that was the 'reason' for his weight gain - would that have warranted an apology?

I somehow doubt it.

No, mental health is not a joke or a laughing matter. And no, causing pain or distress is not acceptable.

But it's not acceptable to cause pain or distress to ANYONE. To make fun of ANYONE. For ANY reason.

So, I think that there are two lessons to be learned from this:

1) You never know what anyone else is going through so measure your words - and your social media posts - carefully


2) Wentworth Miller is someone we can all look up to as an amazing human being.

If you need help with any mental health issues, please visit my FAQ page for links and telephone numbers.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Weight Loss Reward: Progress So Far

At the start of the year (or more like the second start of the year since I used January as a practice month), I wrote myself out a weight loss reward chart to motivate me into losing the extra weight.

I know that some people say that bribing yourself into losing weight isn't the right way to go about things but honestly, I need all the motivation - bribed or otherwise - to get myself off my ass and losing weight.

The problem is that I haven't changed anything in my diet or lifestyle to make myself this current weight.

I've always been a bit of a binge eater and the amount of sugary snacks I can wolf down is truly scary. But it's always been counteracted by the exercise that I do - which consists mainly of walking the dog and swimming. So I have always happily maintained my weight.

And then... steroids.

Those lovely little sugar coated pills. Nom nom nom!

Sure, they made me better but they also made me FAT.

I have nothing against fat and if you're happy with yourself at whatever weight then more power to you. It's just that I'm not happy being this way.

And that's the whole point. I'm not happy.

Unfortunately, I'm also very bitter over my weight gain. Which makes it more difficult for me to gather the momentum to lose weight - or to get out and exercise. I'm angry that I've not changed my diet or my exercise habits and yet I'm in this situation.

So, you might be surprised to hear that I actually beat my target for the month of March and as a result bought myself my first reward of The Big Bang Theory. Yay!

But with the downturn in my depression, I have found myself going back to my regular habits. I am nothing if not an emotional eater.

So once again I'm starting over. I can't crash diet or do anything drastic because I will ultimately end up making myself ill and having to start taking steroids again. Plus the fact that anything drastic is likely to be ridiculously foolish.

I just wish I could figure out whether I should work on my weight first because when I lose the extra weight I will ease my depression due to healthier eating, exercise and more self-esteem. (More? More like any!)

Or should I work on my depression because it's what's making me binge eat and then berate myself, pulling me further down into a catch-22 of bad eating and self recrimination? And if I am less depressed then perhaps I will learn to love myself - no matter what I look like?

It's a dilemma and one I'm sure many people face.

Loving yourself - does it mean losing weight to make yourself happy or accepting yourself as you currently are, even if it's not where you want to be?

I don't know the answer to that question and every time I try and write a sentence to answer it, I delete it and start again. I just don't know - which gives me one more excuse for lack of motivation.

We'll see what happens at my next weigh in!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

13 things I would tell my 13 year old self

I have been having a lull in my life of late - but what's new there? Although it seems that all I've done is read books and write reviews, I've barely been doing even that!

But thinking - boy do I ever do a lot of thinking!

And this morning, a thought popped into my head... if I could tell my 13 year old self any bits of advice (bar telling me anything that would change the course of history and have the timeline skew into an alternate dimension!), what advice would I give me? And would it make a difference to who I've become?

This is what I came up with:

1. Don’t worry that you haven’t kissed someone yet. Those girls that have are either lying or trying to make you jealous. Your first kiss will be under the moonlight and starlit sky of the Scottish highlands - and it will be, well, mediocre…but that’s the point. Honestly, take my word for it - being an adult is nothing to shout about - be a child for as long as you can be.

2. Keep wearing your glasses. For two reasons 1) you will become the poster child for the fact that if you wear your glasses when you’re a kid then you might not need to wear them when you’re older *coughs 15* 2) When you get to 33 - you’ll want to wear glasses because they’re cool (and probably because you need them but don't tell anyone!!!)

3. Don’t believe anyone that tells you your school days are the best days of your life. They’re really not!! Really, really, not!

4. Don’t try and break your ankle by dropping a brick on it just because you don’t want to go to school. It won’t work and you’ll have to go to school anyway but this time with a sore ankle. Also, put down the scissors - you’ll only get as far as to cut your finger and it will be bloody sore! Going to school will make you tough - I promise!

5. It’s okay to cry! Even tough people cry.

6. If your friends tell you that you’re being a ‘sheep’ because you like a popular band and that you should like what they like - ignore them. Think about it - if you do what they tell you to, you ARE a sheep. Like what you like and be proud of it. And, probably more importantly - these people are not your friends.

7. On that note, you're only stuck in the same class/year as these people because your parents had sex at the same time as each other (yeah - hate to break it to you - mum and dad had sex! Bleurgh!) - you won’t remember these kids' names once you hit 18. Be nice but don’t base your likes and feelings on what they say and think - they’re not worth it!

8. Don’t drink Coke near the computer - you might spill it and then you’ll have to run away from home. Or at least you’ll have to contemplate it. And I really don’t think you’d make it alone out on the big, bad streets of Inverness. Even in 1995 when no-one could get there except by open-topped carriage.

9. Take a deep breath and breathe in that cool, fresh air. Make the most of it. One day you’ll dream of the wide open sky, clean air and peace and quiet of the Highlands.

10. Try to hold on to the joy of not having responsibilities. I don’t know if it really was a safer time back in the day or if I was just innocent. Either way - make the most of it.

11. Believe in yourself and love yourself. Honestly, it will change your whole life!

12. Don’t tell anyone else but there will never be a need to do long division without a calculator. Never! Pass the exam and then forget it and don't sweat it.

13. Enjoy yourself, be good and honestly, everything’s going to be alright!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Book Review: Unlucky in Love by Jill Sanders

From the back of the book:

http://amzn.to/25dSB1EKristen Collins is cursed. It’s the only explanation for this recent run of catastrophes. She’s lost her brand-new car and a winning lottery ticket, and her ex-boyfriend just drove off with all her possessions. She’s even lost the empty office that’s been her lunchtime sanctuary. Plus, the new hire who’s taken it over is precisely the kind of impending heartache she knows to avoid, from his intense gaze to that irresistible crooked smile.

Developer Aiden Scott plans to stay at the Denver architecture firm just long enough to prime it for takeover. A job like his can’t get personal. Yet from the moment he collides with Kristen, he’s smitten. He wants to save the stunning interior designer from every crazy scenario she winds up in. But who’s going to save him when his business agenda shatters Kristen’s trust?

Turns out, love’s a lot like luck. You don’t know just how good you have it until you stand to lose it all.

This is the first book I’ve read by Jill Sanders and the first in a new two-part series called The Lucky series.

The first thing I noticed about this book was that the writing style sucked you right in from the get-go. It was light, funny and written in such a way that you were immediately interested and you found yourself reading more and more each time.

Our heroine, Kristen, is flighty, free-spirited and, well, hugely unlucky in love. With other writers, it would be easy to dislike or at least be completely annoyed by Kristen and her attitude. But with Ms. Sanders, the character came across as someone who threw herself wholeheartedly into every situation including love. It was hard not to root for her. I was a little disappointed when, about a third of the way into the book, we were told that Kristen was only 23. I wish that we weren’t told how old characters are supposed to be as I prefer to assume that they are around my age!

Aiden, too, is a really good character and was the perfect foil for Kristen. I liked the way their relationship developed and how you could really see how perfect they were for each other.

If I had one complaint it would be that in the middle, the pace of the story slowed and there were several mundane interactions that probably could have been cut to keep the story moving along as it did at the start and end of the book.

Having said that, I would still recommend this book to those looking for a good, fun and light read. It’s got good characters, fun interactions and is well-written. I’m already looking forward to Amy’s story in Sweet Resolve. 3 stars for this book.


* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Lucky Series in order:

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Book Review: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

From the back of the book:

The first in Sarah MacLean's sensational new Scandal & Scoundrels series . . . all the fun and guilty pleasure of celebrity gossip, with a Regency twist!

Lady Sophie's Society Splash!
When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond, she shocks society and finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, leaving her no choice but to flee, vowing to start a new life far from London . Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn't saving her from ruin . . . it's filled with it.

Rogue's Reign of Ravishment!

Kingscote, "King," the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn't charm, which results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he's more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring! 

War? Or More?
He thinks she's trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn't have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

I am a fan of Sarah McLean's having especially enjoyed her first novel ('Nine Rules to Break...') and her most recent Rules of Scoundrels series. This is the start of a new series called Scandal & Scoundrels and it definitely looked like a similar kind of book to her previous offerings and one that I would very much enjoy.

I was a wee bit worried that I'd made a bit of a mistake, though, when I first started to read. It was a bit wordy - and flowery with it - and I'm definitely not a fan of cutesy little tropes liked 'The Soiled S's' or the 'Dangerous Daughters'. *Rolls eyes.*

But the pace was fast and the writing soon levelled out as the story took over. I really enjoyed Sophie - an honest person who knows what she wants and is prepared to get it - even knowing that it's against society (and her family's) wishes. She was fun, believable and I was really rooting for her almost as soon as she was introduced. She was a little innocent and naive but I liked that about her.

It took me longer to warm up to King, however. Sure, he was a realistic character but I still wanted to give him a slap at times for being needlessly rude, especially to Sophie. He did get better (and nicer) but I couldn't help but be a little turned off by his attitude that it was okay to be mean to someone until you know them and like them. I did think the reasons for his altruistic ruination of women across London was a bit far fetched - as was his all consuming adoration for his first love, which after 15 years, he managed to get over in the space of about 30 seconds.

But anyway, Sophie and King turned out to be a really good couple. I like a bit of arguing and sparring in my love stories and the fact that they were on an adventure together that neither of them had any real interest in being on, definitely produced some tension. The adventure was fun and amusing as King tried to keep Sophie from getting into scrape after scrape - usually caused (or at least not helped) by him. The book wasn't overly sexy but there was just enough smooching and good times to keep me happy.

I would assume that the remainder of the series will be focusing on the remaining Talbot sisters although none of them seemed like very good heroine material from the snippets of them from this book. In fact, the whole Talbot family were very forced and one dimensional. I wonder why Sophie even liked them let alone how on earth she came to have her character and morals when coming from, and growing up beside, such a seemingly vapid and insipid bunch of people.

It's been a few weeks since I read the book and while I did enjoy it, it hasn't overly stuck in my head. I'm giving it 4 stars because it did hold my attention while I read it and I was happy for King and Sophie by the end of the book. If I'm honest, I'm not sure if I'll pick up the next book in the series - 'A Scot in the Dark'. It will all depend on whether the author will find it necessary to write 'inna verra stewpit and nun too relistic Scottish accent, ye ken?' (Free trips to Scotland if anyone wants to find out how we actually talk and that we actually have differing accents depending on where in the country you're from! And breathe...) and which sister the story is about. For the time being, this story gets 4 stars from me.

And now, time for another rant...

Have a quick look at these:

Now, I may be in the minority, but I've always been a fan of the 'traditional' romance book cover. Bodice Rippers Anonymous! It's sexy, seductive and just screams "I'm reading romance". Perhaps that's why the publishers decided to change the cover of this book (and many others) for the British audience. Perhaps we're too tame and demure for low bodices, hunky men and torrid embraces. Oooh, Matron!

Well, (and I mean no offence to the very talented British cover artist) I just don't like it. It looks like a whole other genre of book. One a lot more sedate and demure than its contents - a book my grandmother might pick up to read. She'd sure get a fright if she did and got to the sexy bits!

I so disliked the British cover that I decided to buy the book in from America.

And lo and behold - it was a third the price from America than it is from the UK. So not only do they dull over the cover but they hike up the price.

I don't have the money that I used to and everyone's being a bit more careful with their pennies these days. I can tell you it's hell when you're a book addict like me and want to get your favourite authors in paperback. But who in their right mind would spend £9 for a book when they could get the same book (with a more appropriate cover) for £3?

Okay, that's my rant about the book covers over. Don't worry - I'm not letting it influence the rating of the book. I just needed to get that off my chest as I'm a bit weird and have been holding that in for a while!

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Book Review: The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries

From the back of the book:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/147223216X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=147223216X&linkCode=as2&tag=romantrambli-21When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend's impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he's in for trouble. He's been hunting for someone to wed, and she'll just get in the way. Although captivated by the whip-smart, free-spirited beauty, he fears she'd be all wrong as a wife...if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Too bad he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.

Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone - not Edwin, whom she's sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin's gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker's vow to expose the lovers' deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that's important to him to protect his bride?


I am a huge fan of Sabrina Jeffries - I don’t think there’s been one story of hers that I haven’t read and enjoyed. Oh, let's be truthful - I have a proper author girl-crush on her! Despite having all of her books to choose from, this book will definitely stay in my mind as one of her best to date.

This is the second book in the Sinful Suitors series (after Yvette and Jeremy’s story in "The Art of Sinning"). We were first introduced to Edwin, Clarissa and their basic character traits in that book. For fans of Jeffries’, Edwin is also known as he was the former fiancĂ© of Jane from "If The Viscount Falls" (Duke’s Men Book 4). Having said all that, there is absolutely no need to have read any of the preceding books before reading this one. Everything will make sense and I promise you won’t miss out on any pertinent details.

There’s nothing sexier in my book than a gruff, grumpy man who secretly has a heart of gold and an all consuming love and lust for his lady. Edwin actually went one better by having a sharp sense of humour to boot, which only Clarissa was able to bring out in him. Clarissa herself was sharp, smart and had layers enough to make her a very interesting and likeable character. Her past troubles made her vulnerable and I felt were dealt with realistically. It really made me feel for her.

Together, Edwin and Clarissa had such a palpable chemistry that it was so much fun to read. Clarissa seemed to excel at poking the grumpy bear that was Edwin and he just didn’t know how to deal with her. Except for kissing her, of course!

Overall, this is a witty, fun and sensual novel that will delight fans of a good historical romance. The characters are interesting, sexy and a pairing you can’t help but fall in love with. Sabrina Jeffries has really nailed this story. I can’t recommend this book more. A definite 5 stars.

(As an aside - does anyone else think that the hero on this cover looks like Leonard from The Big Bang Theory?)

5 stars.

* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sinful Suitors series in order:

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Book Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

From the back of the book:

http://amzn.to/1S9wsgoA snowstorm hath no fury like a spinster scorned!

Miss Elinora Browning grew up yearning for the handsome, intelligent lord-next-door...but he left England without a word of farewell. One night, inspired by a bit too much sherry, Nora poured out her heartbreak on paper. Lord Dashwood Missed Out was a love letter to every young lady who'd been overlooked by gentlemen--and an instant bestseller. Now she's on her way to speak in Spindle Cove when snowy weather delays her coach. She's forced to wait out the storm with the worst possible companion: Lord Dashwood himself.

And he finally seems to have noticed her.

George Travers, Lord Dashwood, has traveled the globe as a cartographer. He returned to England with the goal of marrying and creating an heir-only to find his reputation shredded by an audacious, vexingly attractive bluestocking and her poison pen. Lord Dashwood Missed Out, his arse. Since Nora Browning seems to believe he overlooked the passion of a lifetime, Dash challenges her to prove it.

She has one night.


I think I own most of the books in Dare’s Spindle Cove series but as yet have only read one or two. As this is a novella and would be quite a quick read, I decided not to wait until I’d read the books in the right order but instead jump right into this one.

The premise is fun and something a wee bit different from normal while still sticking to a familiar pattern of young love turning into something real.

Miss Elinora Browning - Nora - is a great character. She’s feisty and fierce while still being true to her bluestocking roots. She felt true to the time period and I could relate to her meaning that I was rooting for her happy ever after.

Interspersed in the book are chapters that bring you to Spindle Cove and those waiting out the snow storm to hear Nora speak of her famous - or infamous - pamphlet. These are the parts that give you a glimpse of the characters of the previous books in the Spindle Cove series, especially Griff and Pauline from Any Duchess Will Do and the heroes from the previous novels. As I said, I’ve not read all the books but these snippets and the banter between the gents has really made me want to pull the Spindle Cove books out and get to reading. Genuinely funny with ease and interesting banter between these characters.

This is the same with Dare’s writing throughout this story. It’s smart, funny and really flows. It’s an easy read and that, in part, is down to the way in which you’re drawn into the story.

So, why didn’t I rate this book higher? Well, I blame George Travers, Lord Dashwood aka Dash. I just couldn’t take to him. Now, I could totally understand his anger at the pamphlet that Nora wrote - she wasn’t exactly subtle about who she was talking about. I could accept if he hadn’t found her attractive when they were younger and hadn’t contemplated marriage. I could even accept that it was definitely a good thing that the pair hadn’t married all those years ago. What I couldn’t accept was his attitude and his manner with Nora. He was rude, condescending (and not in that ‘he’s arrogant but he really cares’ kind of way that I can totally get behind) and his goads and taunts felt borderline mean. Oh, he did get better towards the end of the book and I believed in their intimacy and their happily ever after - I just couldn’t really forgive him for his attitude when he and Nora first reconnected. I do like to hold a grudge!

A fun book with lots going on, an unusual premise and a witty and clever writing style - this is one I would recommend if you want to complete your Spindle Cove collection or introduce yourself to Tessa Dare’s writing. Shame that it couldn’t have been a wee bit better - I blame George!

3 stars. 

Spindle Cove series in order:


Book One: A Night to Surrender
Novella: Once Upon a Winter's Eve
Book Two: A Week to be Wicked
Book Three: A Lady by Midnight
Novella: Beauty and the Blacksmith
Book Four: Any Duchess Will Do
Novella: Lord Dashwood Missed Out
Book Five: Do You Want to Start a Scandal?