Made To Last.

Made To Last is Melissa Tagg’s debut novel.  Not a bad effort at all.  The only complaint I have is that for me, the middle part of the story is a wee bit too long.  This is just my personal take on it and I do believe many other people have found it a fantastic story.

Miranda Woodruffe is the star of a home improvement TV show called From The Ground Up.  She appears to have it all, a successful career in TV, a wonderful husband who inspires her talent in home improvements and a fantastic home.  The truth on the other hand is so different.  Her talent is real, yes, but her home is only half-finished and her wonderfully inspiring husband is no-existent.  The lie about her having this wonderful husband stems from her audition for the position on the show.  She told the director all about the man she was involved with at the time, the man who she expected to marry and who had taught her everything she knew about home improvements.  She didn’t think there was any harm in the little white lie that she told at the time, after all, she and Robbie were going to be married soon anyway.  But shortly after she began filming the TV show Robbie walked out on her, leaving her broken-hearted and living a lie.

Three years on and fans of the show still believe she is married.  The only people who know the truth are her best friends and the show’s producer.  With the show in danger of being axed her producer decides it’s high time the public get a glimpse into Miranda’s very private personal life.  The only snag is, she doesn’t have a husband!  The plan is to hire a fake one for a while. The producer also thinks it’s great idea to have a journalist shadow Miranda and blog about her life.  There is a fantastic twist in the tale towards the end, I think the reader kind of expects this to happen though.

Great read, if a little on the long side.

Recommended.  4 stars ****

Writing Challenge.

Life has done that thing it does, muscled itself in the way of my creative pursuits, meaning I have missed three gays of this challenge.  I am going to attempt to write one post using the last three days prompts and today’s.

What I have found absolutely interesting throughout this challenge is how each card seems to relate back to the very first card and blog post.  That very first blog post in this challenge – my big revelation about my life –  really opened the door for me and really did propel me forward.  And because I haven’t been able to write this week on the challenge I have made notes about each card/each day’s challenge and have found that the four cards are still a continuation, the theme is continuing from that very first post/card.

The first card that I want to talk about is Temperance.  Temperance brings us balance and when we allow balance into our lives we are able to let life flow.  Ever since I started to make changes in my life I have noticed just how I am able to let life flow.  I am a self confessed control freak and this stems from that one incident way back in 1987.  But by letting go of the hold that incident has had on my life I have felt less of a need to control everything around me, which has resulted in life just flowing.  That is balance.

The next card was the Devil.  The message coming through from this card is telling us to face our shadows and set ourselves free.  Yes, I believe that is what I have indeed done for myself.  I believe I have set myself free from a negative hold on me.  I have said time and again ever since I revealed this secret that any positive action that resulted because of it and any positive action I take is only about me.  If I say something or post something that suggests my letting go of past hurt and pain then that is directed at myself, nobody else.  I do not purport to speak on behalf of anyone else, I speak only for myself.  I have lived in the shadow of this incident for far too long and I have chosen to set myself free of it.  I am only speaking about my own experiences and how those experiences have shaped and molded me, that includes the new, freer me.  I have stepped out from the shadows.  I write/talk about my experiences and choices, not those of anyone else.  I choose to free myself from negative situations and experiences.  This does not mean that negativity from my past is all gone, it certainly isn’t.  It means I am choosing not to let any negativity cloud my present.  That does not mean I think everyone should do that, it means I am doing that for me, nobody else.  If you can’t let go of your own negative influences then I understand, but I am not implying my choices should be your choices, they are mine and mine alone.  I have reached this point, the point I am at today because I have stepped out of the shadows in my life – again, my life, not anyone else’s life.

The next two cards have me stumped, so to speak. The Tower is all about things falling apart, tumbling down, but us seeing this as a blessing in disguise.  There is one incident in my life – no, not that one! – where I brought my personal life crashing down.  It was a train wreck, people were hurt, badly, I got hurt, but it forced me back into therapy and I was able to bring control to parts of my life that were still spiraling out of control.  It also allowed me to appreciate the one person I had really hurt, bringing us closer together then ever before, strengthening our bond.

The final card, today’s card, is The Star.  The message is all about writing about why we deserve a star, like an award of recognition.  I am loathe to blow my own trumpet; 27 years of self loathing don’t just evaporate over night.  All of the positive steps I have recently taken have been brilliant, they have had a massive impact on my life, but I cannot just say I deserve anything in this way.  There are people who do braver things than me and they truly deserve awards.  So with that in mind I will say this; I am awarding myself the Sue Park award for being the best version of myself that I can be.  It is a bit tongue in cheek, but I am patting myself on the back and telling myself well done for being me.  I am not being pretentious, I am congratulating myself from myself.  I don’t think the world owes me anything, I think I owe it to myself to be my true self, that is all.

The Story Guy

This was a lovely read, a tale of courage, sacrifice and love.  Carrie West stumbles across an online dating add that piques her interest.  The add says “I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park.  Kissing only.”

Carrie messages the poster, who has included a personal photo of himself.  Carrie is struck by the sheer beauty of the man in the photograph.  Before too long the anonymous poster messages her back and they begin to chat, agreeing to meet the following Wednesday.  Carrie turns up at Celebration Park, not sure what or who to expect, but when a male bicycle rider approaches her she recognises the man from the photograph online.  He tells her of his rules and then they start kissing; kissing which thrills Carrie so much that she wants to take things further.  As the story progresses the reader gets caught up in the angst that Brian Newborough portrays.  Carrie knows Brian has a secret, a secret that fills his life and keeps him from committing to anyone, but she wants to share his burden and very gradually he lets her in, bit by bit.

My first thought was that Brian had a severely disabled wife whom he had to care and provide for and that was why he could not commit to anything other than the Wednesday kissing dates.  But then I sussed out what was going on and felt myself hoping he would let Carrie in, which he does eventually.

I found this to be a lovely read, some have said not so hot on the sex, but I think explosive, steamy sex scenes would detract from the message the author is trying to get out.

Recommended.

5 stars *****