Book Review: The Good Samaritan by John Marrs

This was my Kindle First choice for November, and boy am I glad I chose it! From the moment it opened, with a couple of total strangers meeting for the first time to walk hand-in-hand over the edge of a cliff, plummeting to their deaths, I was instantly hooked.

Laura is a housewife who volunteers for an organisation called End of the Line, which provides a listening ear for those in distress. Many of the people who call End of the Line are just that – at the end of their line – and suicide seems like the only option. As somebody who has been there, I could definitely emphasise with the type of person who would call such a helpline. Volunteers to the helpline however are not expected to give advice to the callers, or even talk them out of their suicidal thoughts. They are only there to listen, in the hope that the caller will eventually talk themselves into a better place.

Which brings us to Laura, who is not your regular helpline volunteer. Her sole purpose, it would seem, is to encourage people to commit suicide, and to be on the line to hear their last breath. It is an obsession of hers. Yes, Laura is one sick and twisted individual, and one that also suffers from a great deal of self-delusion. At the beginning, she certainly seems to be the one in control, and is responsible for the cliff-top dual-suicide. But as the story proceeds, it becomes evident that all is not as it seems in Laura’s world.

Ryan is a widower, having just lost his pregnant wife Charlotte after she jumped off a cliff in an apparent suicide pact with a complete stranger. Angry, confused and grieving, Ryan decides to investigate his wife’s last weeks and discovers a number of calls to a suicide helpline, End of the Line. He eventually tracks down Laura and, realising that Charlotte had not planned her suicide alone, sets out the exact revenge.

And so starts a cat and mouse game between Ryan and Laura, told from both POV’s. Things get messier and messier, and both of their worlds start to unravel drastically, with fatal consequences.

I really enjoyed this book. The title was a tad misleading as there was very little good about this Good Samaritan. I was fascinated to learn more about Laura’s life and family – she really is a repulsive character, a sociopath of the first degree, but also extremely compelling to read. And some of her caustic observations about her co-workers were laugh out loud amusing.

I have given this a well-deserved 4 stars on Goodreads.

It’s Friday, I’m in Love.

It’s my favourite weekday again! That’s Friday, for those of you who haven’t caught on yet. It is time to put my feet up with a good book, and crack open the wine!

That is exactly what I will be doing when I finish work today, as well as putting the heating on as soon as I get home. There is a definite chill in the air! Winter is nearly upon us, bringing the Christmas season with it. Exciting times!

I’ve noticed that a lot more people are kicking off the Yuletide early this year, with Christmas lights already twinkling in some houses. It is difficult to avoid it these days, as the shops are shoving Christmas in our faces from September onwards, and the festive adverts are already on our TV screens.

I must admit, I do love everything Christmassy and will be joining the Christmas decoration brigade in a couple of weeks. There is nothing quite like twinkly lights to brighten up a dark, chilly evening.

Happy Friday! 💜

Time For Wine 🍷 #WeekendCoffeeShare

If you were joining me today for coffee, I would actually offer you wine. I’ve just opened a lovely shiraz, courtesy of Jacob’s Creek – probably the only creek I’d like to be stuck up without a paddle! Hehe! Too early for you? I will put the kettle on instead. 🙂

I have so much writing to do at the moment, yet I can only concentrate on one commitment at a time, which is annoying. I’m not posting nearly as much as I’d like to on this blog, plus I have a 700-1000 word article on dating in the wake of #MeToo to write for my freelance journalism course. Instead, I’ve been writing poetry.

Now I’m not claiming to be a brilliant poet, or even a poet full-stop. I just attempt to put words together in a pretty way and click post. I’m not sure it even works, but it appears to be my passion right now. If you’d like to, you can check out my ‘poetry’ over at Fragments of my Mind. It is pretty dark stuff, but I’m channeling from my darkest moments. People seem to relate to this stuff, on Facebook anyway.

My reasoning is, if I want to get something published soon-ish, then poetry may be the direction to head in – for now anyway. It doesn’t seem too difficult. However, the general public may have a different opinion!

I really do have to start/finish my article though, and pretty sharpish. I enrolled on the Professional Freelance Journalism course back in September 2016, and the article is only my second assignment. So I am embarrassingly behind, and it isn’t even funny anymore – not that it ever was. I need to pull my finger out, as they say. I may post it once I’ve completed it, and ask for feedback. So watch this space.

What is funny is the amount of ‘important’ things I find to do when I should be writing. Spring-cleaning seems to be very interesting at the minute, and it isn’t even spring. I’m also watching a lot of tv, mainly box sets on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I’m particularly loving Lucifer, Scream, Bates Motel, and Blue Planet 2. And I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here starts tonight, which is my favourite reality tv show. For those outside of GB, ten ‘celebs’ are dropped into the Australian rainforest and left to fend for themselves, while taking part in lots of yucky Bush Tucker Trials to win food for the camp. Expect snakes, huge spiders, and contestants eating kangaroo’s testicles. I kid you not! It’s brilliant!!

Anyway, I should go and carry on with/start my assignment. I’ll post it when it’s completed – any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated!

I hope your coffee was okay. I think I’m starting to get the hang of making a decent cup of coffee. Apologies if I’m deluded!

Enjoy the rest of your day! 💜

Book Review: The Image Of You by Adele Parks

I’ve always loved an Adele Parks novel, and so when I saw this advertised for 99p on Amazon, I swooped in for a quick buy and began reading it that night.

Nick is a womaniser, a love-’em-and-leave-’em type who uses dating sites for an easy conquest. Anna is a fragile beauty, kind and homely, looking for her next big love. They meet online and arrange a date, both with very different agendas in mind, but things go extremely well. Without expecting to, Nick finds himself falling into a cosy whirlwind romance with her, and before he knows it, he has proposed, surprising himself and those closest to him.

But Nick has reckoned without Anna’s twin sister, Zoe.

Zoe is the opposite of her soft-hearted and vanilla sister. Hard-drinking, sultry and determined, Zoe doesn’t care about anything, apart from her twin sister. Until she meets Nick.

There is a delicious twist in this tale, which I clocked on to quite early in the story, but it certainly didn’t ruin it for me. It kept me engrossed right up until the end, which I have to admit was a bit of an anti-climax. However, up until then, I couldn’t put it down!

I’ve given it 4 stars on Goodreads. The lacklustre ending did make me consider a mark down, but the rest of the book was so entertaining that it definitely deserved all 4 stars.

Aaaand.. Relax! #WeekendCoffeeShare

[Photo by Natalia Klenova]

Good morning/afternoon/evening to you, on this Remembrance Day. If we were sitting down together with hot drinks, I could offer you a coffee but I will be drinking tea. I always worry a little when making coffee for people as I don’t drink it myself, and am unsure about measures, etc. But I will make the effort for you, if coffee is what you prefer. I apologise in advance if it is undrinkable!

So today, we are going to discuss the week just gone, and I am going to put a few things into perspective. I find that writing things down is very therapeutic for me, as you may have noticed from my monthly overviews for September and October. I do have a tendency to ramble as I work things out in my head, and my writing can often come across as erratic and meandering. I hope that isn’t a bad thing, and if it is I can only apologise again, because that’s just the way it is.

I generally find it so much easier to blog at the weekend. There is so much more time, especially if I have nothing arranged. When I am relaxed, my mind works better and more clearly, and I find myself wanting to write, rather than it being a chore. Mind you, even when it initially feels like a chore (letter-writing in particular), as soon as I start to write, I can quickly get into the rhythm. It is just a case of getting over that first hurdle, when you aren’t feeling the motivation. During the week, my mind is more often that not in a completely different zone, filled with work and school and other dull, everyday things. But when the weekend is stretching away in front of me, and I know I have few commitments – that is when I want to write.

I told you – rambling. That’s generally how I write.

Anyway, how’s your coffee? Top up?

So, how was your week? More often these days, I find myself wishing for the weekend to hurry up and arrive, as I plod reluctantly through my working week. This isn’t good. I get very bored by repetition and too much routine, and my job is the same week in, week out. Boring.

It is a shame because, alone, I am never bored.

There was one highlight though, as I toiled half-heartedly through my working days. My manager took me into an office with the HR manager on Wednesday morning. At first, I thought they may have overheard my incessant moaning recently. But no – my manager has noticed what a ‘fantastic job’ I’m doing, apparently. Says the department is running so much better since my colleague, who had been with the company longer than me and was seen as the ‘more experienced’ team member, had left, and that I’ve been doing a fabulous job of training up the new lady. In short, she didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know, but it is nice to finally be recognised for my efforts. I’ve only been working there for 10 months! Anyway, I’ve been given a pay rise, which is always nice, and also much needed right now. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make the job any less boring, but at least I am appreciated for the work that I do. That makes me a little happier, because I do work bloody hard for that company, and up until recently it has been overlooked in favour of mediocre team members.

Okay, so it may sound like I have a massive ego, but that’s untrue – I am merely aware of how hard I work, and I like to be appreciated for it. As we all do.

Other than work, my son has been continuing with his high school education, and not doing the best of jobs at it, I might add. This week, he has been put on report. Bearing in mind that he has only been there for two months, this is a bit of a worry. However, on the other hand, it is only two months and I think he is finding the transition from primary to high school a little difficult. After all, it is a totally different environment. He is adamant that things are going to change though, which is encouraging. Only time will tell if this happens, but I am going to remain positive. It is only early days in his high school education, and I hope eventually he begins to knuckle down and take it more seriously. Personally, I just want him to be happier than I was throughout my years of high school education. Obviously though, being on report is not my idea of ‘happier!’ Luckily, the reasons for him being put on report in the first place are minor misdemeanours (turning up for lessons late and without his workbooks) are easily rectifiable. 12 years-old boys are not generally known for their organisational skills!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your coffee, and our chat. I’ll see you again next weekend.

Remember, Remember, the 7th Of November..

Okay, I know that isn’t how it goes. But I do tend to remember the 7th of November, every year since 2015. It is the birthday of the last guy I dated, and the last guy who hurt me.

One and the same, might I add. Another reason why I lost faith in relationships, and dating, or anything that involved a member of the opposite sex.

Let’s rewind a bit.

So, I’ve always been a romantic at heart. After a trail of disastrous mistakes and a couple of years of abstinence while my heart recovered, I decided to bite the bullet and try out this Tinder lark.

Yes, if I was me reading this knowing what I know now, I would be laughing too upon reading that.

Tinder. Home of fuckboys and casual hook-ups.

But I didn’t know this. Naively, I believed that there were genuine people out there who were also signing up for Tinder in the search for a relationship.

They must have seen me coming a mile off.

Fresh-faced and filled with hope, I enthusiastically embarked on a spate of swiping left and right, and eventually matched with Jedi.

Obviously not his real name, but anyway.

Jedi was a few years older than me, with a dog and a teenage daughter, both of whom he doted on. Sounded perfect, right?

Over the next few months after our initial date, he led me a merry dance. Naively, I had believed his initial ‘confession’ about looking for a relationship, and I allowed myself to be led. I was an idiot. He wasn’t interested in me. He wasn’t interested in a relationship. He was only interested in collecting a variety of women to boost his ego and keep his options open.

But I had set my cap at him, and I am nothing if not tenacious. When he ‘admitted’ to being flattered by a woman who chased, I obliged. When he said he was scared of getting close to anyone for fear of being hurt again, I worked hard at showing him how trustworthy I was.

In short, he manipulated me and I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.

Part of me, the silly part that believed in astrology, and compatible star signs, thought we were destined to be. Scorpio-Cancer, the best match in the zodiac. Apparently.

Not in my experience.

He was just an arse.

The mind games, the other women, the lies. I allowed it all because I believed it was all I was worth.

I wanted to believe that he was a good guy.

Then one day, I opened my eyes and saw it for what it was. A massive joke, and it was on me. I deserved better, no doubt about that.

This was around his birthday, 7th November. I should have listened to my own heart. Scorpio has never been good for me, a sensitive, soft-hearted Cancer crab. They hurt you, and they relish it, and you never even know why.

Or you do, but you can barely accept it because it is so trivial and pathetic.

Not to them though.

Now I’m not going to tar every Scorpio with the same brush. I’m sure there are some lovely Scorp’s out there. But I seem to attract the lowest of the low, the ones who prey on my generosity and then sting me for some imagined slight.

I don’t have time to be second-guessing myself all of the time. I struggle hard not to hurt myself, let alone stepping on egg shells around somebody else. And I don’t have time for pettiness.

On his birthday, as a last resort, I sent him a DVD of a film I knew he adored. He thanked me profusely by text, but it didn’t break down any barriers. Instead, he found himself yet another ‘playmate.’

It was around then that I made the decision to door-slam him. And I did. No texts. No stalking on Facebook. I went cold turkey.

Once I lose interest, I really lose interest. And once I lost interest, he became interested.

Too late. I had already moved on, and was therefore impervious to his ‘charm’. Whether it was real or not, I’ll never know. I didn’t want to find out.

Since then, I have avoided dating at all costs. I don’t trust men, or dating in 2017.

And I don’t trust myself not to get involved with an arsehole again.

I always remember the 7th November though, because two years ago I made a pact with myself on this very date.

To stay single until I learned to love myself, and to understand exactly what I deserved from love and life.

Monthly Overview: October 

I always feel a little sad once October is over. It is by far my favourite month, with Halloween at its pinnacle. However, once Halloween is over, October is over (obviously), and that makes me a little sad. 

November is a non-entity month, the filler that bridges the gap between Halloween and Christmas. October’s ugly sister. The anti-climax after the run-up to Mischief Night. But it is still officially autumn, and we love autumn, right? We shouldn’t be so hard on November. 

After the negative vibe of my August and September overviews, I am actually feeling a little more upbeat as we move into November. I’m not sure why as nothing much has changed. I’m just in a better frame of mind. 

My recent achievements:

  • I finally completed Assignment 1 in my Professional Freelance Journalism course. Now, while this is certainly an achievement, it isn’t something to be entirely proud of. I enrolled on the course in September 2016, and have only just submitted my first assignment. Yep, I’m not the most organised of students. Still, at least I’ve finally made a start!
  • I finally got my son’s PC fixed after having to send it back TWICE. Suffice to say, I probably won’t be using that company again.
  • I have decided to put some of my poetry and creative writing out there, and have submitted a few pieces to various sites, including To be honest, I wouldn’t really class my writing as ‘poetry’, more little snippets of stuff that is on my mind. There seems to be a lot of people about at the moment who write things that are classed as poetry, but aren’t really. So why not try my hand at writing words and arranging them prettily. You can see some of my offerings at Fragments of my Mind, my other blog. It’s definitely not hearts and flowers, so be warned.
  • My dad paid us a visit from Cornwall, and we had a lovely long weekend catching up with family and friends. Luckily, I had the following week off work to recover. After three days of non-stop socialising, my batteries were in serious need of a recharge!
  • I managed to carve two pumpkins on my own in half an hour. I’m quite proud of that. Okay, so they weren’t the best pumpkins ever. But they looked good when lit up.

  • I found a gardener to tidy up my back garden before the winter months, and it’s looking good again. I’m not particularly the green-fingered type and, although I like to have plants around the house, I’m easily put off from getting out in the garden by bad weather or creepy crawlies. Yes, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to spiders! 
  • I have been made admin of a Facebook page share group and am enjoying building up the group and organising things. Suits me down to the ground!
  • I’ve been attempting to exercise more, and even visited nearby West Kirkby beach on my week off to walk my mum’s dog, which my son and I really enjoyed. So did Sophie (see below.)

So there are quite a few notable achievements. I am feeling much more positive about things, although I’m not sure why as my purse strings are very tightly tied right now, and Christmas is fast approaching. But let’s not think about that right now..

Goals for November:

  1. Start my Christmas shopping. This is quite important as I haven’t bought anything yet, and I’m not exactly loaded with spare cash. Luckily, I only really have my son to buy for, but 12 year-old boys are notoriously expensive to buy for!
  2. Complete Assignment 2 of my Freelance Journalism course. This involves writing an article and interviewing people to obtain quotes as if I’m a real journalist. I’m slightly confused as I’m not, but I’ll give it a go..
  3. Bonfire Night. This actually falls tomorrow but tonight is the main night, being a Saturday. It sounds like a war zone outside and the cat is not happy.
  4. Learn how to make a roast dinner. Yes, at 41, I have never cooked a roast dinner before, and I have invited my brother and his son over for Christmas dinner. So I will hopefully be getting tips from my mum.
  5. Carry on job hunting. I’m still bored to tears in my current role, and desperately need a new challenge.
  6. Visit the Christmas markets. I really want to, but I’m not sure it’s worth it as I am skint. I love all things Christmassy and would love to visit the markets in a foreign country, only that is unlikely to happen this year. So I am happy to make do with Manchester or Liverpool, or even Chester.

Well there are my goals for this month. I’m off to watch the fireworks. Happy Bonfire Night!