Finding Time: A Short Story & Unique Jord Watch Collaboration.

Hello readers! It’s nearly Valentines day, my first as a blogger and social media addict, and I wanted to do something special. As this is the time of year when we show our loved ones how special they are to us, I have been lucky enough to collaborate with Jord Watches in order to show you all how much I love and appreciate your support! If you are unfamiliar with Jord, they make the most stunning watches, craved from wood. As a lover of nature as well as classic minimalist design, these watches are right up my street. watch 1I am partnering up with them to offer one lucky person $100 off one of their stunning timepieces- to enter, just click here. Not only can you win this amazing prize, but everyone who enters also gets 10% off any Jord watch.

To celebrate the collaboration, I have also written a short story entitled, ‘Finding Time’ and I sincerely hope you can find the time to read it and to enter this aweseom giveaway. As always, I would love to hear from you guys, so leave me a comment or head to my social media and follow me! In the mean time, happy reading…

Finding Time

This was to be a year of firsts for them; their first house together, their first anniversary, and coming up, their first Valentines day in their new home. But more notably, it was also their first fight. Robert had been working a lot lately. In fact Beth felt like she saw less of him now than when they lived apart. Last night had been the last straw; not only was he late coming home, with no message or phone call to stop her from worrying, but he had very casually dropped into conversation the fact that he would be working late on Valentines day.

The conversation had went something like this:
“I can’t wait to spend our first valentines day together in the house…maybe we could get a takeaway and have a romantic dinner in, just the two of us?’
“Sounds good, but may need to postpone it a day or two after, maybe the 16th of 17th. I have a meeting on Valentines day, so won’t be home until late. Could you pass me the soy sauce?”
“What? But it’s our first Valentines in the new house. In fact, it’s our first any kind of holiday since moving in together. I wanted to make it special. Can’t the meeting be moved?”
“Not really Love.”
“Don’t you ‘Love’ me…”
And then the drama. She had told him he was spending too much time at work, that he had his priorities skewed, that he wasn’t making enough time for them, for her. He told her she was his priority but things were temporarily hectic at the office due to some people leaving, and that it would all calm down once they recruited some new staff. He said she made him feel guilty about his job, something he couldn’t help, and he called her a drama queen. She called him a rather choice word, too explicit to repeat, and that was the end of that.

Two days had since passed, and bar small talk and the occasional necessary conversation about bills or furniture, they had barely spoken a word never mind made up from the fight. She knew it was stupid, but that’s the funny thing about hurt and anger, they are so easy to hold on to even when you know how ridiculous you are being. The truth was, Valentines day wasn’t exactly a monumental holiday. It wasn’t their anniversary or a birthday, but she had had this idea, an image of the two of them eating takeaway out of the boxes because they still hadn’t bothered to unpack the plates, candles lit, a cosy night in just the two of them. She had waited for so long to have a place they could call theirs, and she wanted to christen it. Now, it seemed as if it would just be another date in the calender, February 14th, nothing special. She sighed.

On the day itself, she didn’t even hear him leave for work he had got up so early. She was off that day, using it to unpack and clean, a list of jobs which no matter how long she spent on them, never seemed to decrease in length. After several hours, becoming more and more sick of the sight of newspaper and packing peanuts, she had unpacked a framed photgraph taken at the beginning of their relationship. Robert was standing behind her, arms wrapped around her waist, both smiling widely at the camera. One look at that picture and she realised what a daft idiot she was being. She had complained about hardly seeing him, about spending so little time together, yet in the days since their argument she had spoken to him even less, BY CHOICE. It was time to make amends.

She knew he was working a double and wouldn’t be home until very late, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t make the day special. She gathered the discarded pieces of newspaper and made a Valentines day banner with red sharpie and string. She set out all the candles she could find to light when he got home, and after a trip to the local card shop, placed some red heart shaped balloons around the room. She also bought a card, nothing too soppy, just a simple ‘Be my Valentine.’ Inside she inscribed, “My dearest Robert, I love you more than words can express. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, and selfishly, I want to keep you all to myself. I’m sorry, Beth.”

She placed it front and centre on the fireplace. Normally, she would make a meal or order them in something special, but given how late he would get home, this wasn’t exactly practical. So instead, she baked. At the local shop, she bought the ingredients she needed to make her Grandmother’s shortbread recipe, and she spent the afternoon making heart shaped biscuits. When she was done, placing them down with the card, she looked around at her handy work and smiled. If this didn’t put an end to the silent treatment, nothing would.

She yawned. Checking the time on her phone, it was just after five pm, she realised Robert wouldn’t be home for hours. Beth put her head down on the sofa, and decided to close her eyes for half an hour, but exhaustion took over and she fell fast asleep.

“Beth? Sleeping beauty?”

She awoke to a gentle kiss on her forehead. The room which had been bright when she lay down, was now pitch black. She wondered what time it was.

“It’s late, about eleven.”

She had no idea how he managed to read her mind the way he did, but she loved him for it. He reached beside the sofa and turned on the lamp, revealing her hard days work. He smiled.

“You’ve been busy.”
“I have indeed. I wanted it to be special. Do you like it?”
“Of course I do. You didn’t have to go to so much trouble.”
“I wanted to…look, I’m sorry about the fight.”
“No, I’m sorry. You’re right. I’ve barely seen you these past few weeks and it’s not fair. I told them tonight I would be scaling back, new staff or not.”
“You did?”
“I did. I had to get my priorities in order.”

They both laughed, and she threw her arms around his neck and breathed him in, relief washing over her. Fights always create a distance between two people, and every time, there is the chance it may become too great a space to close.

“I have something for you.”

He reached inside his brown leather satchell, papers and books filling the majority of the watch 2space, and removed a wooden box. The box itself was beautiful, just able to fit in one hand, it was smooth and cool to the touch.

“What’s this?”
“Open it and see.”

She pulled off the lid, to reveal a watch inside. It was made of a dark, rich wood, with an emerald green face. She held it into the light, the wood smooth in her hands.

“It’s beautiful, I love it.”
“Check out the inscription.”

She excitedly turned it over, revealing the words etched on the smooth, wooden disc, ‘I will always find time for you.’ She could feel tears fill her eyes as she once again embraced him, and there they sat a while, just holding each other, the only sounds in the room was their quiet contented breathing, and the ticking of the watch.

About my watch

watch 3If you like my watch, and fancy it for yourself, it’s called the ‘Frankie’ watch, and mine is made of dark sandalwood with an emerald face.  You can buy it here.  Or you can click to have a look at their women’s collection and men’s collections.  Don’t forget, every entry into the giveaway also gets you 10% off, so get shopping for that perfect Valentine’s day gift!

Wooden Wrist Watch

Unboxing of January’s The Bookish Box: Galactic Adventures!

bb1I arrived home today to some book mail which is out of this world!  January’s The Bookish Box theme is Galactic Adventures, featuring all of your sci-fi favourites, such as Star Wars and Firefly.  Frankly, it’s a geeky girl’s dream!  As always, I am inviting you to unbox this treasure trove of nerdy delights with me!  And remember, if you fancy getting you own Bookish Box, or buy individual pieces from The Bookish Shop, you can get a discount with my exclusive code MARIE.  If you like my posts, subscribe to my blog for the latest updates, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!

First and foremost, how awesome is this Star Wars t-shirt?  I adore the teal colour and bbjan2the quote is spot on.  I will be rocking it along with my Lunar Chronicles tote bag, perfect to carry my books and nerdy collectables in!  It was designed by Evie Seo and it’s too cute!  Next, we have this Firefly inspired magnet, which is just too badass, and which will definitely be donning my fridge. How cute is this Star Wars inspired book mark, designed by Dust and Pages, and my new calendar, which I bbjan5will use to check off the days until my next Bookish Box arrives!  January’s calendar was designed by Stella’s bookish art, and February, my personal fav, was designed by Hey Atlas Creative.  To top it off we have our usual illustrated colouring page and my personal favourite, this stunning Lunar necklace.

This months Adult book pick is The Woman in The Window by A.J.Finn.  So what’s it about?

It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

This one sounds right up my street!  Expect a review on my blog as soon as I’ve finished it (I am starting it this evening!).


The Season by Sarah Maclean: A Book Review.

Hey fellow Bookworms!  It’s almost the weekend, when we can read as late as we like without fear of an early start the next day.  For tonight’s post, I am reviewing ‘The Season‘ by Sarah Maclean.  For those of you who follow my blog, you have seen that this was the book chosen for January’s The Letter’s Lit subscription (If you fancy seeing all of the bookish goodies I received as part of that subscription, check a couple of posts back).  So what is it about?  Let’s check our friend, the blurb:

theseasonSeventeen year old Lady Alexandra is strong-willed and sharp-tongued; in a house full of older brothers and their friends, she had to learn to hold her own. Not the best makings for an aristocratic lady in Regency London. Yet her mother still dreams of marrying Alex off to someone safe, respectable, and wealthy. But between ball gown fittings, dances, and dinner parties, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get herself into what may be her biggest scrape yet.

When the Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. But will Alex’s heart be stolen in the process? In an adventure brimming with espionage, murder, and other clandestine affairs, who could possibly have time to worry about finding a husband? Romance abounds as this year’s season begins!

I am going to start with a couple of things, which although very minor, I found irritated me greatly whilst reading ‘The Season.’  The first is a phrase, used at least a dozen times per chapter, ‘Whispered conspiratorially.’  Every character spoke this way in almost every conversation, and it got to the point where I thought I had just invented a new drinking game: have a shot every time you read that phrase and you will find yourself hammered by Chapter 2! Honestly it was just beaten to death and I found it bugged me.  Again, this is very minor, but something worth raising nonetheless.

The second thing, is the dozens upon dozens of references to Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice…I get it!  This was the inspiration for the book, but stop with the name dropping.  In fact, take out the whole spy bit, and this book is pretty much a facsimile of Pride and Prejudice, just not as good.  Smart, ambitious young woman who refuses to marry?  Check.  Handsome, wealthy, male love interest who is stubborn and proud?  Check.  A series of misunderstandings which create that will they, won’t they question for the main part of the book?  Check.  Happy ending where they finally end up together? Check.  Early 19th century setting complete with balls and manor houses?  Check.  There is even a rogue male character and an overbearing pushy mum.

Saying that, the book is fun, lighthearted and entertaining.  Obviously Maclean could never reach the dizzying heights set by Austen, but if you are a fan of Austen or classic Romance literature in general, I think you will like this as well.  The defiant young women leading the charge are well rounded characters, along with the men who constantly underestimate them.  The Spy storyline offers enough suspense and adventure to keep you interested, and although it’s a fairly predictable read, it is also an entertaining one.  And let’s face it, who doesn’t love a bit of Romance?

Overall, I would recommend it if you fancy something fun and frothy, perhaps as your holiday beach read.

Roomies by Christina Lauren: A Book Review.

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Roomies by Christina Lauren in my December edition of The Bookish Box, so of course I had to read and review it!  First of all, what is it about?

roomiesRescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

First of all, full disclosure: I don’t tend to read what I would term as ‘chick lit.’  The romance novels I read are classical literature, and modern romance novels have never interested me before, so I started reading this thinking it wouldn’t be my cup of tea.  But, surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed it!  The story line is fun and interesting, with enough ups and downs and dramas to keep you glued to the pages from start to finish.  I genuinely couldn’t put it down at points!

The main characters are likeable and believable, and Calvin, the male love interest sounds quite frankly sexy as hell!!  Yes, the book is predictable, and (spoilers) it’s no surprise they end up together at the end, but you do find yourself rooting for them from the beginning, and feeling a little nervous whenever they hit a bump in their already rocky road!  The sex scenes are even decent, and pretty raunchy at that.

This book has humour, drama, love and sex and it is a genuinely entertaining read from start to finish!  The perfect holiday read, I recommend it if you fancy something fun and lighthearted.

The Letters Lit: Official Unboxing, or should I say un-enveloping? And a poem inspired by my letter!

Happy New Year everyone!  One of my resolutions, is to write more and read more, so hopefully you will see an increase in my posts!  I am lucky to be completely spoiled this month, with lots of wonderful bookish goodies arriving through the mail, giving me inspiration for writing as well as new books to read.  On Sunday, you may have seen my post about unboxing my fabulous Bookish Box, and tonight I get to unbox (or should that be un-envelope?) my fabulous Letters Lit package.

letters lit 2If you are unfamiliar with The Letters Lit, they are a company which offer you book letters as opposed to boxes, thus giving you the experience of a book box subscription, at a fraction of the cost.  Every month, you receive a stunning wax sealed envelope, containing a selection of beautiful goodies themed around that month’s book.  This months book is ‘Season’ by Sarah Maclean, which I am very much looking forward to reading and reviewing (keep an eye out for the full review here on my blog).

Inside my package, I received some beautiful classic prints, which would look beautiful on any wall or notice board, some beautiful ribbon, some orange wedge post-it notes (as a list maker, this particular gift makes me very happy!), a heart shaped tea diffuser as well as a Twinings Earl grey tea bag (which I fully intend to sip as I read), a Letters Lit inspired page mark/paperclip and finally, my personal favourite, a bath tea bag (I wish I could add scent to my images, because wow does it smell divine).  The whole letter is just bursting with joy, and I love every little detail!  You can feel the care and consideration that goes into choosing each item and as a lover of all things vintage, I adore the classic vibes.

I have been following this company since their launch, and am so pleased to see them thriving and growing!  Subsequently, I was inspired to write a poem- I hope you like it!!

What joy to read,
to turn a page.
To fight and bleed,
explore an age.
To love or hate,
to shed a tear,
challenge fate
or face your fear

What joy to explore
a world unknown,
where dragons soar
and banshee moan.
Where ogres hide
amongst the fae
and vampire brides
escape the day.

What joy to share
a world in hand.
To cry and care
to understand.
To find yourself
through printed word,
where hearts they dwell
and lines are blurred.

What joy a book,
how knowledge spreads,
where wise men look
and brave ones tread.
But what of ends,
of final words?
When all is done?
That land preferred.

There is a way
to make it last
to steal away,
into the past.
A gift through door,
where book worms sit
waiting for
The letters lit.

Instructions simple,
there is but one:
Open seal with letter knife
A gift to bring a book to life.

The Bookish Box: Official Unboxing.

Happy New years Eve everyone!  I hope you all have a wonderful evening ahead of you, including a glass of bubbly and a kiss at midnight.  To celebrate the end of December, and 2017, as well as the beginning of a new year, I thought I would share with you the unboxing of The Bookish Box’s December edition, which is the perfect theme for the coming of a new year: Destined.  I have had the honour of recently becoming a rep for this amazing company, and I was so excited to receive my first box, I simply couldn’t wait to share it with you all.  If you love it as much as me, you can get 15% off at the Bookish Shop and $3.00 off your first subscription at The Bookish Box  by using my exclusive discount code MARIE.

And to celebrate December’s theme of Destined, I have written a short story in the same theme, which is at the end of the unboxing!  Enjoy the unboxing, enjoy my story and enjoy your New Year’s Eve…it’s destined to be a good one!!

bookish box 1Just look at this selection of bookish goodies!  I practically squealed when I opened it.  The first thing I came upon was this gorgeous Throne of Glass mug, featuring a fabulous watercolour illustration by Aelin Fireheart.  As if this wasn’t amazing enough, inside I found the most beautiful wooden Christmas ornament created by Hello World Paper Co.

Next, I came upon the sweetest Harry Potter candle, created by Whiskey Diamond Candle bb3Co. and decorated with a hint of gold.  I wish I had the ability to capture scents in my images, because it smells heavenly!! And to match my candle, a badass Harry Potter tee from The Bookish Shop, with one of my favourite quotes, ‘When in doubt, go to the library.’ Wise words!!

Beneath this, a stunning Game of Thrones print by @DaniMarieDraws, featuring the Queen of Dragons herself, as well as the monthly theme doodle created by Doodles by Christina, because who doesn’t love a bit of colouring in?

bb4Finally, the final finishing touch, a new read: Roomies by the New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren- keep an eye out on my blog for the upcoming review!

I honestly think it might be the best thing I have ever received through the mail!


Running from Destiny

When Helena was born, she was told, “You are destined to be a great leader.” It had been written in the stars they said, and foretold by the elders of the kingdom. As she grew, they told her almost every day of her life, “Take your lessons Helena, so you can grow up to be the great leader you are destined to become.” “Eat your vegetables Helena, so you grow up to be the strong leader you are destined to become.” If she heard her nanny say it once, she heard it a million times, until Helena decided she didn’t want to be a great leader anymore. She decided she wanted to be something else, anything else, somewhere else, away from here. And so, on her sixteenth birthday, under the cover of darkness, she packed a bag and left the kingdom, turning her back on the destiny everyone else had picked and choosing her own.

When the people awoke the next day, and discovered their beloved Princess gone, they wept, for they knew that darkness lay in wait within their boundaries, poised to strike at any moment, and without Helena, their great and brave leader, they were surely doomed.

Helena walked through the most treacherous mountain paths, and faced the worst of all weather. She hunted and climbed and swam and ran, and grew tall and strong. Her life time of training kicked it, almost automatically, and she did not simply survive, she thrived and grew stronger than ever, for now she breathed free air, and could choose her own path.

Sadly, the kingdom grew weaker, as fear took hold. Those amongst them, with greedy intentions and selfish inclinations, took advantage of the climate of uncertainty, and anointed themselves leaders and governors, tearing the kingdom into pieces to rule as their own, fighting to rule the biggest piece, until it lay in wreck and ruin, unrecognisable to any who had known her in happier times.

A decade came and went, and Helena, now strong and fierce, never tiring of her adventures, hurried onwards until she came upon a town in the dark woods. The people were fearful, cowering at the slightest sound. Every time Helena tried to speak with them, to buy a loaf of bread or enquire as to the name of the town, they would run and hide, locking their doors. Only one would talk with her, the eldest of the residents, and therefore the one with the least to lose. She told Helena of a great and mighty kingdom, filled with happy people, who after losing their Princess, found themselves torn apart by greedy, selfish men, who decided to fill the void left behind with their own version of leadership. And so, under the shadow of such corruption and deceit, the kingdom fell apart, and it’s people now feared their own shadows, and struggled with the daily chore of survival.

Helena was touched by this tale of woe, and after seeing how poor the people were, and how even the children were worked as slaves so the men in charge could live in wealth and luxury, she made it her mission to help them. One by one, she faced these men, and one by one they fell on her sword. She freed the enslaved, and opened the castle doors to the poor and the starving, ensuring all were fed and clothed and had a roof over their head. She restored the light to the darkened woods, and the kingdom once again united, began to prosper, it’s people happy for the first time in so many years.

One day, as Helena was helping the villagers rebuild their school, the old woman came to her with a smile on her face, “I told you you would be a great leader one day. I’m glad I made you take your lessons and eat your vegetables.” Helena cried with joy as she hugged her old Nanny, and the people rejoiced at the return of their beloved Princess. Although she had left, she returned stronger, having lived her life her own way on her own terms, and discovered that often, we meet our destinies on the paths we take in order to avoid them.



The Sacrifice by Alec Caruso: A Book Review.

Hey everyone…I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward now to a great New Year!  I was spoiled rotten!  Santa brought me lots of wonderful bookish goodies, I got to spend time with loved ones, I ate far far too much and I even got some time to sit and read, one of my favourite things to do!  What did I read you ask?  The Sacrifice a debut novel by Alec Caruso, the pen name of the very talented writing team Rachel Mehal and Keith Bruton.  To find out more about them, and purchase your own copy, head to Amazon and their website.

So what is the book about?

sacrificeLondon, England. Dr Ted Conway has committed suicide. A case that should be easily closed.

After a forced break, Detective Inspector Reo Yoshima is thrust back into work, overseeing the the suicide of Dr Ted Conway, only to discover that things with this case is not what it seems to be. Trying to determine the unforeseeable truths from hidden lies, clues start finding their way together. As the case begins to unravel, it forces Yoshima into a whirlwind of discoveries, sending her to Cologne, Germany.

At first, I found the book slightly disjointed.  It cuts between the aforementioned Detective Rei Yoshima in London, to detectives in Germany, a couple with fertility troubles in London and news bulletins about the Syrian refugee crisis with no apparent connection or Segway.  There is also the fact that the reader’s perspective shifts between so many characters, in London and Cologne, that sometimes it can get confusing. However, slowly, the seemingly disconnected chapters link in to each other, and all of the pieces come together to form one big picture.

This is also when the book begins to pick up pace as well as increase in action and excitement.  It was definitely worth reading through to this stage, and the final chapters certainly tick all of the necessary boxes you want from a crime thriller…Guns?  Check.  Fight scenes?  Check.  Murder and kidnap?  Check and check.  It will certainly satisfy even the most fussy of thriller fans.

It also likes to keep you on your toes, and have you guessing at who is involved in the overarching conspiracy.  I don’t like to write a review with spoilers but I will say that, whilst I guessed who was good and who was bad early on, I was unaware of their motivations until the big finale and I always love a twist I didn’t see coming, so points for that.

The lead character is very real, strong but fragile, broken but trying to mend, she is likeable and believable, and more importantly she is badass.  I hate weak and wobbly female leads, and Rei Yoshima could never be accused of either of those flaws.   However, I was frustrated with a lack of revelations about her past.  Although certain small titbits were revealed, it’s very sketchy, and although I understand this is the first in a series and the reader is meant to wait until the proceeding books to find it out, I still would have liked more.

The one negative I have to raise, and I am very aware of my own issues in this area, is the grammatical errors throughout the book.  I am not the best speller, but even I spotted these glaring mistakes.  At one point an entire paragraph is repeated, accidentally printed twice.  A minor thing really, but it bugged me a bit. Saying that, if in a review, the only big criticism you have is with the spelling, then it must be a pretty good book!

Overall, I think it’s a very entertaining crime novel, which would be a great holiday read or something to pick up for a long journey or on the commute to work, perfect for any crime fiction fan.  So give it a read, and let me know what you think!