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Want You Gone (Chris Brookmyre) - Book Review

I'm a little late to the Chris Brookmyre party and had no idea that he had written so many crime novels. However, at the Partners in Crime event in Derby, his name came up as being one of Scotland's top crime writers and his novel Black Widow won the Scottish crime book of the year in 2016. As I like a bit of Tartan Noir, I thought it would be good to check him out.

I was not disappointed, despite the fact that I read Want You Gone, book 8 of the Jack Parlabane series, gifted to me recently by my husband.

The story is about a hacker (Sam) who is blackmailed into doing some serious shit that could land her in prison. This would be a big problem, as she is caring for her younger sister Lilly while their mother is in prison and there is no father on the scene. Sam realises she could be out of her depth and in turn, blackmails Jack, a journalist, to help her. What follows is an exciting and tense tale focussed on cybercrime and industrial espionage that keeps you hooked and turni…
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My non-book buying year

There is something powerful about starting fresh with a new challenge on the 1st of January. It's like pressing the reset button. And that's what I decided to do and here's what happened when I did.

An idea had popped randomly into my head towards the end of 2017 and it didn't seem to want to let go. I began to wonder - could I do this? It was a real biggie for me.
So what was the challenge?Well, the title of this post, is undoubtedly a spoiler alert, but I was wondering could I make it through the entire year without buying a book?
I know. Please stay calm. I can hear your screams: 'What? No book buying for a whole year.' Yep - that's the challenge I decided on.

Anyone I told, and who knows me well found this hilarious and probably doubted me from the off. When I mentioned it to my husband and some close friends, they just laughed thinking I was joking. And at first maybe I was, but then that little seed of an idea lodged deeper and deeper and I wondered was t…

She and I

"Can you believe it?" she tells me outraged in a transatlantic Skype call. "She asked me if I was a grandmother."

This is the culmination of a call with one of my best and oldest friends. We laugh and make scoffing noises, give a virtual shrug to indicate that this question was obviously not serious. We send each other hugs. We hang up.

And so what of it that someone asked her that question. We both turned 50 this year - within two days of each other in fact and yes, ok I'll admit I'm the oldest. Logically, she and I could both have grandchildren - apart from the fact that we both decided that children were not our bag. It's not unheard of - many 50 year old women do. Yet when I speak with her, I don't think of her as this age. I see and hear her as the 18 year old girl that I came to know when we both started secretarial college - see that in itself dates us. Do secretarial colleges even exist anymore? Can you still learn shorthand, typing and offi…

The Essence of Stillness

I have recently returned from a wonderful yoga retreat in France.  While I was there this poem arrived and requested I write it - so here it is!
The Essence of Stillness


Perhaps it is in the morning mists that swirl across the fields Or in the petals of a flower waiting to unfurl Perhaps it is in the rise and fall of the belly of a sleeping cat Or in the bowing heads of sunflowers missing the summer sun

Perhaps it is in the echo of a dragon fly's wing Or in a blade of grass swaying gently in the breeze Perhaps it is in the weight of an acorn that falls from a tree Or in the shimmer of a moonbeam reflected on the pond Perhaps it is in the curl of a frond from a passion fruit plant Or in the redness of an autumn berry newly formed Perhaps it is in the iridescent light captured in a single moment Or in the crisp leaves that snap underfoot Perhaps it is deep in the centre of me, aligned to my beating heart Or in the softness of my breath moving effortlessly in and out Perhaps it is there as I lay i…

Running from or running towards...

Last week I resumed an old relationship with - my running machine. We have, I think I would describe it as, a long distance relationship and that's nothing to do with running distances, but the fact that we just don't connect with each other that often. It's been on and off, on and off and for a long time off, but we had an unexpected meeting last week and it was ok. We decided we might meet up again.

Exercise seems to be something I like the idea of, yet in the grand scheme of my to do list each week, it's the item that stubbornly remains - carried forward to next weeks' list - staring at me long and hard and accusingly. If it were a Tamagotchi - it would have crawled into a corner and died long ago.

Yet last week, we connected three times. The first time, I thought I might actually have to have the break up talk - you know the conversation - it's me, not you which actually was the truth as five hours after my initial interval training - which for me actually …

The Magic of Stories

When it comes down to it, our lives are simply full of stories. The stories we share with our loved ones, our friends and family and of course the stories we tell ourselves. We all have our own stories, the experiences and moments that shaped us into who we are today. The hurts and losses, the happinesses and laughter.

Just think how many times we weave our stories into conversations with other people. Everyday work issues can become an elaborate drama. Relationships become a mini-series where we wait with anticipation for the next instalment.

Even complete strangers it seems will tell you their story, often (in my case anyway) in a very short period of meeting. It seems that the one life-altering moment cannot be held in - it leaks out either gently or spontaneously sometimes in such heartbreaking detail that upon hearing it you could sit down and sob.

I grew up in a childhood of stories. I lived alone with my mum from the age of seven, after my dad left. My mum worked long and unus…

My tiny rebellion

I have a secret to share with you. I've discovered something that gives you confidence, makes you feel good, doesn't break the bank and brings out a different side to you or it did in me. What can this magical thing be I hear you cry.

Wait for it...

A little bit longer...

Keep waiting...

Ok, time for the reveal...
















Yes, it's red lipstick

I was recently persuaded to give wearing red lipstick a go and when I say red, I mean real red, pillar box red - not pinks trying to act like red. As a woman fast approaching fifty (how did that happen?) I was a little unsure at first. Surely this type of red is strictly in the domain of younger women, surely red lipstick is for sirens, women of danger. I was thinking Bette Davis in All About Eve.

But then I thought hell yeah - why not. Why shouldn't I do it. And so I did.

The first time, I put it on, I felt transformed. I dressed up a little more than I usually would, found myself wearing heels. The lipstick demanded it.

I was sassy. …