Book Review: Gentleman Sinner by Jodi Ellen Malpas

I haven’t read this genre for such a long time, but decided I fancied a change from psychological thrillers when I spotted the book on sale in ASDA.

Izzy White finds herself in danger one evening when, while walking home from work, she is confronted by an assailant after she goes to the aid of an injured prostitute. The notorious and wildly attractive Theo Kane swoops to her rescue, and the flame of attraction between them is instant.

The story begins so promisingly, although a little far-fetched, with the swoon-worthy Theo basically stalking Izzy both at home and in Las Vegas, when she jets off on a girls holiday with her friend and roommate Jess. He appears to be utterly obsessed with Izzy, and the feeling is mutual.

But Theo has issues. He cannot handle being touched after a traumatic childhood filled with abuse at the hands of his father. Izzy, in her turn, is recovering from a rape ten years earlier. Although they both want to be together, neither is willing to confront their demons and give their relationship a real chance.

From here, things get increasingly messy, and Theo becomes a bit of a liability, in all honesty. First of all, Izzy loses her job and the respect of her manager, after Theo loses his temper catastrophically at the hospital. Then, he (unwittingly, I might add) invites her rapist to his club to incite a reaction from her. When this plan fails drastically, he punches her in the face when she unexpectedly touches him.

This in itself is bad enough. But it gets worse. Instead of apologising, he goes on to kill her rapist after beating him to a pulp.

It doesn’t stop there. When Izzy needs him the most, he takes the self-pitying route and does a runner!

Of course, there is a happy ending, but the ridiculousness of the plot lead to the 3-star review. Other than that, it is well-written and will probably appeal to fans of the genre.

Personally, I was also hoping for better sex scenes. While being restrained is hot, a lack of foreplay isn’t! But that’s just me. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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I am BACK!!!

Hellooooo! Remember me? I’m back, at last! Yes, I know. You thought I’d disappeared for good. To be honest, so did I. I completely lost my writing mojo for a while back there.

When you last encountered me, I was attempting to get my life coaching business off the ground. At first, I was extremely enthusiastic and raring to go. But it is so easy to become disillusioned when faced with obstacle after obstacle. As I currently work Monday – Friday at my day job, it is difficult to find the time to commit to anything else, and what I assumed would be fantastic turned out to be a flash in the pan.

I still want to be a freelancer though, and it took eight months of soul searching to finally settle on my future career.

Meet Jo Sexton – Proofreader and Copy-editor.

If you need a proofreader, I’m your girl. My website is currently under construction and I’m extremely excited about this. I have oodles of experience and am very meticulous and passionate about proofreading.

I will share the link to my website once it is up-and-running.

Happy Friday!

Happy Father’s Day – BELATED

I was supposed to post this yesterday, but forgot to finish it off. So I’ll post it now..

It’s Father’s Day – time to celebrate the man who provided the seed to our existence, or the man who took us on even though we weren’t his, or even the parent who has been both mother and father to us. You are all awesome.

I’m going to talk about my dad.

I love my dad, and although he hasn’t been around physically for much of my life, I still know he is there for me to provide parenthood in the best way he can.

My parents divorced when I was 4 and my dad returned to live with his parents in a self-contained flat above the family business. A baker by trade, he worked hard to follow in my grandfathers footsteps and, once cut adrift from married life, he played hard too. That wasn’t to say he was a bad father. He just didn’t really know what was expected of him, and largely relied on his parents, my grandparents, to look after us when we came to stay.

I can’t say this was a bad thing. Some of my best memories are of Christmas at my Nana and Grandads, or school holidays spent at their chalet in North Wales. My brother and I benefitted greatly from these opportunities, and I will never forget them.

The thing I remember the most about these times was the fun we had, and the sense of humour shared by my grandad (now sadly deceased), my dad, and his two brothers – a sense of humour I have inherited. I love this – they are some of the funniest people I know, and I’m proud to have inherited such a fantastic trait.

My dad eventually remarried and grew up, although he will never really change. He is always the life and soul of any party, like my grandad before him, quick with a corny joke and a twinkle in his eye. You can’t really hate my dad – he is constantly upbeat, although he is uncomfortable around any show of emotion. A typical bloke of his era, I would say.

And he’s a real grafter. Since leaving the family business, he has struggled to find an alternative career as a taxi driver, a postman, a porter at Rick Stein’s restaurant in Cornwall. And although he has dedicated himself to each chosen job, and worked hard in each different role, you can never take the baker out of him and I think that, deep down, he will always see himself as this, working alongside my grandad all those years ago.

I love my dad.

Winging It: Life, And How Not To Do It

So, I decided to take the weekend off from blogging. In fact, I took the weekend off from most things. I temporarily forgot about my to-do list, and basically just relaxed. To be fair, I think I deserved it.

Since my public meltdown on here the other week and the support I received from some of you amazing people, it feels like all of my worry and anxiety and stress has kind of deflated. It doesn’t feel as important anymore, as if the very act of writing it down has neutralised the negative feelings. Instead, I feel a lot more chilled out, and also a little indifferent. Why should a job I don’t particularly care for have so much influence over my life and my emotions?

Of course, I am merely avoiding the issue and I know it will raise its ugly head again very soon, unless things change. We have a new member of staff starting next week so things may improve. But after 18 months of the same or similar levels of shit, I’m sceptical. I think it’s time to move on, and my current indifference is merely an emotional plaster that will eventually peel off.

If only life was easier and we all had jobs that we loved, and relationships with 100% trust and loyalty, and happy home lives with enough money to pay the bills and holiday every year. If only.

I’m guessing there must be people out there who do have all of this, and if you are one of those lucky people, I am jealous.

I’m at such a crossroads in my life right now that I need to sit myself down and give myself a good talking to. I’m 42 this year – why haven’t I figured out where I am going, what I want to do, who I want to be with? Should I have this figured out by now? Or am I destined to waste my days away in passionless jobs just to pay the rent, coming home to my cats and my books and my wine. Actually, I don’t mind the latter, but do I really want to be alone forever?

Ok, I need to compile a short-term bucket list. What I want to have achieved by the end of 2019.

Yep, 2019. Plenty of time then, so I don’t really have any excuses. Here goes..

  1. Enrol on the life coaching course I’ve had my eye on. I know what I want to do but I don’t have a lot of confidence in my abilities, mainly because it is something I haven’t done before. Ask me to lead and organise a team of people, or process a pile of timesheets and I will amaze you. But life coaching? Zero confidence in myself. So, get qualified, join the ACCPH (Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists) and go from there.
  2. Book a holiday. Anywhere really, although preferably somewhere nice and hot with interesting places to visit and a beach. And cocktails.
  3. Get a new job. Yes, I know the #1 thing is going to happen, but I still need to pay the bills before I build up a solid client base. And I can’t keep dragging myself into the hellhole I currently work in.
  4. Open myself up to the possibility of love. Ok, this is probably the one I’m least confident about as I don’t have much faith in people. But it would be nice to have someone in my corner for once.
  5. Have more faith in me. I’m a mess really, aren’t I? If I had more faith in myself, I wouldn’t even be writing this list. I know I have strengths but I get scared when it comes to applying them to something I really want. And then I run away and hide.

Life coaching? I think I need someone to coach me before anything else. After all, I can’t wing it forever.

Happy, Happy Friday

Happy, happy Friday! Oh, how we miss you throughout the week.

And is this Friday a happy one? Actually, I’m feeling a lot better than I have done recently. This past week in work has been surprisingly uneventful. There was still much to be done with very little help, but I didn’t fall apart. I coped, and I’m here to tell the tale. Proud of myself. 💪🏼

The good news is that they have hired a new manager who will be starting work in two weeks, so things should be looking up. But we will see. Watch this space.

That isn’t the only good news I’ve had (yes, really!) My blog hit 400 likes a week ago, but as I was immersed in a meltdown at the time, I forgot to celebrate. So here it is now – 400 LIKES!! Thank you so much to all of you for sticking by me through my sporadic posting, complaining, and seesaw mood swings. This blog wouldn’t be where it is without ya! 😘

Enjoy your weekend!

Putting My Pieces Back Together

Somebody asked me today why I was single. What’s more, they delivered it with an incredulous tone to their voice, as if there was something wrong with being single. As if there was something wrong with me.

Maybe there is; the juries out on that one as we speak.

There is quite a simple answer to the question they framed, although I wasn’t sure they had the time or the interest to stand there and listen. I don’t think they actually expected an answer; they just wanted to point out that I am single.

As if it’s a curse or something.

I’m single by choice, and have been for a long time. Don’t feel sorry for me. I do have opportunities; I just choose not to take them up. And the simple but actually quite complex reason for this is people.

People are dangerous to my mental health, with their drama and their thoughtlessness and their nasty comments and their hurtful actions. Or is that just the people I have chosen in the past?

If so, then the problem lies with me, and my ability to attract assholes and allow them to treat me badly for far too long.

I don’t have the best track record. My first real boyfriend cheated on me. My second boyfriend also cheated on me quite extensively, gifted me with a (luckily treatable) STD and tried to accuse me of giving it to him!

Boyfriend #3 was a narcissist.

Back then, the term narcissist wasn’t bandied around as much as it is today, so I had no idea what a poisonous creature he was. Stupidly, I had convinced myself I was in love, and allowed him to belittle me, estrange me from my friends, gaslight me, and basically destroy my self esteem.

When you hit rock bottom, the only way is up and it took me quite some time to find myself again. When I fell pregnant after he bullied me into coming off birth control pills and refused to use condoms himself, I told him he didn’t need to stick around. He insisted, and was pretty horrendous throughout my pregnancy.

As soon as I met my little boy, I realised that I had never truly experienced love until that moment, and the narcissists hold over me was gone. He accused me of changing; I told him he no longer had the power to mentally abuse me.

10 years later, I can’t regret the relationship because it gave me my son, but my past experiences have messed me up. I don’t trust easily, my expectations are too unrealistic, and I see hidden agendas everywhere.

Free from his hold over me, I have made some pretty bad decisions in the past decade, when my heart has been crying out for a soulmate but searching in all the wrong places. I have now been completely single since 2015.

Do I miss the companionship? I don’t think you can miss something you’ve never had. None of my past relationships have been particularly happy, with cuddles on the sofa and ‘you and me against the world’ togetherness. In all honesty, I would love to find that. But I still to this day look in the wrong places, and I don’t know how to stop that.

So, you wanted to know why I’m single, random work colleague. The simple reason is, people have broken me and I need time to piece myself back together. This involves: staying away from people.

One day, I hope I’m ready for a real, grown-up, authentic relationship with somebody who loves me and who I can trust implicitly. But first I need to love and trust myself, and I can only achieve this by allowing myself to heal.

Persevering

First of all, I just want to thank those of you who took the time to read/like/comment on my weekend post. I wasn’t in a good place at the time and needed to get a lot of frustration off my chest. Afterwards, I did consider deleting it on more than one occasion – I wasn’t sure if I explained fully how I was feeling, or even why I was feeling the way I did. In hindsight, I thought that it would seem a little trivial to those of you who are depressed for real, authentic reasons. But then I realised – when you suffer from clinical depression, anything can be a trigger, no matter how big or small. Nobody was going to judge me on that.

For me in this case, it is a result of working my heart and soul out for a company that takes me for granted, and will continue taking me for granted until I decide enough is enough. My problem, or my greatest asset, whichever way you want to look at it, is that I pride myself on doing the very best I can, whether I am happy or not. If I have a job to do, I will knuckle down and get it done. And that is where I have gone wrong with this company – they are taking advantage of my work ethic rather than awarding me for it.

So I need to leave and take my loyalty and my integrity elsewhere.

Of course, it isn’t that easy. I can’t wake up one morning and think, “sod it, I’m not going back”, much as I’d like to. I have bills to pay and mouths to feed.

So my only other option is to find another job. Easier said than done, but I will persevere. They won’t break me.

I just need to be careful that I don’t break me.

Happy Monday! 💙