I have definitely failed to keep this blog up to date. But to be honest I have also failed to read often due to life changes and other challenges. I intend to change this in the coming weeks. This will begin with a platform change to WordPress and a relaunch.

Please watch this space. Time for the next chapter.

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For my Father

This post is a change to the usual for this blog. As a writer I must write a million things that nobody ever reads. But this one felt like it needed to go somewhere more public and this is, after all, my little piece of internet.

My birth Father passed away on the 18th February after a long illness. The past nine days have been a million times harder than I ever expected them to be. I have felt pain like I didn't know existed, cried harder and longer than I thought possible and I have felt a sort of numb that is explainable unless you have felt it yourself. I'm full prepared to keep feeling those things, but writing has always been therapy to me. Anybody who has seen the number of notebooks and journals that I go through can vouch for this. So, I have written this in the form of a letter to my father. I cannot explain why I have put it on here. But here it is.

Dear Dad.

I don't brag about many things. I never have. But one thing that I have always been happy to tell people is that I'm lucky. I am lucky because I got two dads when everybody I know only got one.
My Mum never kept it a secret that the man I grew up with was my stepfather, and who my birth father was. She never shied away from telling me stories of you and never once told me anything that would make me see you as any less than a really good person.

She wanted me to know where I came from. I wanted to know where I came from. At around 9 years old I wandered onto the street that she told me you lived on because I wanted to know you for myself. That day I met my sisters and my Grandparents, and eventually, you. I loved you from that very first day. You were just as amazing and interesting as she had made you out to be. To anyone else looking at your tattoos, beard and leather jacket you might have been scary. To me, you were the legendary man who created me, and the one who stayed away because you knew my Mum could care for me. You promised to only ever step in if it was needed, and that is a promise you kept until the very end.

I grew up calling both you and my stepfather "Dad". It wasn't confusing to me. It might have been to other people but it was my normal. I had two men who would always have my back.

As I got older, as a teenager, I tried to visit. Often I found myself visiting my Grandfather instead. He lived near to you and you worked a lot. I wanted to spend time with you but you never seemed to be the type to enjoy visits, cups of tea and small talk. You never turned me away but things always felt strained. I never knew why, and I never judged it. I grew to realise it was just your way.
At Grandad's I would ask him endless questions and listen to his stories of Nanna, your siblings and You. I wanted so much to have grown up as a part of these memories. I don't blame anyone for that not happening though, and until he left us I lived through those stories.

You see, Dad, I wanted a relationship with you and your side of my family. That is why, after using my stepfather's surname for most of my childhood, I changed back at 16. That name was a label that identified me as one of yours. As a part of you. I took it back and I have worn the label proudly.

As a teenager I began to learn about my family history. My mum told me to get in touch with you because it was an interest of yours too. I still have the few emails where we shared information. It was the only time I felt like we truly had a connection and I loved to call you with questions when I got stuck. You would get so animated when you started telling me about the places you had got stuck, or when you told me about your Grandfather. You didn't like him much, from what you told me he didn't really like anybody. You shared his files with me and his history in the army. I adored these times. I loved sharing this with you. I am continuing the tree because every time I look at those files I feel close to you.

My love of bikes (although I have never ridden one), biker history and tattoos were all born from wanting to be closer to you too.

I remember my sister calling me to say you had had your heart attack. She reassured me that you were OK and they were going to operate. I remember coming to visit not long afterwards and you had quit smoking. You were going through lozenges like candy, but you refused to smoke and begged me to quit too. I did Dad. It took years, but I finally did it the same week last year that we found out you were sick. I made a promise to myself that I would never smoke again if you got better. I never told anyone that. I guess they all know now. You didn't get better, but I still won't ever smoke again. For you.

You see I always wanted to be a part of your life. I listen to memories and stories now but I only really have those that were told to me. I know this is my own cross to bear, but I truly never knew how. I was three years old when I left with my mother. I never worked out how to erase those years and bond with my family. I never worked out how to form a real bond with you. Instead I idolised you silently and enjoyed the small moments I got.

I always felt that I was outside of your side of my family. That I was never truly a part of it, just distant from it. I wanted to be involved. I didn't know how.

When I came to visit you in the hospital it scared me. I try to put forward the image that I'm independent and strong and that I can cope with anything. But every time I sat beside you. Twice in the hospital, once the day the surgeon came to talk about your surgery, and on those few days I came to see you at home... I felt like a scared little girl. I was terrified of your illness, and of losing the chance to finally be a part of your life. Every time I left I planned to come and see you again as many times as I could. Then I would talk myself out of it somehow and found it harder and harder to face you again. I was too scared to keep facing the changes, facing the fact that time was going by too fast. I was too scared.

By the time I saw you in the other hospital you were already deteriorating. I sat in that room with my Uncle and Cousin and I just wanted to climb on that bed and hug you.

Dad, if there was any way you could read this I would want you to know this. I loved you always. I loved every short second I got with you. I wanted to make you proud and I will still try to. Every single day. Did I ever make you proud?

 You weren't around half as much as I wanted you to be. I don't blame you for that. But if I could go back I would go back to when I was nine years old and I would stand in front of you and say every word of this directly to you. Then hopefully I would have had the relationship with you I was too scared to ask for.

For not trying. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not being the daughter I should have been. I'm sorry for letting everyone thing that I would rather not try than for saying how I really felt. I'm sorry for blaming everything but fear out of my own pride.

I'll love you forever Dad.

Tracy x

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Bout of books 15 - Would You Rather?

Phone post - apologies for bad formatting.

Its day 2 challenge time and this one looked so much fun!  Thanks to writing my own fairytale for giving us this!

There is still time to sign up!

Would you rather:
Lend books to someone who dog-ears pages or to someone who reads with cheesy Cheetos fingers?
Eww...  Just...  Neither. I can't choose one. Both of these are simply disrespectful. It's bad enough they would ask to borrow books.

Would you rather:
Be able to meet one character of your choice or meet one author of your choice?
Definitely character and I would choose Juliette from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I am halfway through book one and from the very first page I wanted to hug her. She is a breath of fresh air as a protagonist.

Would you rather:
Never be allowed in a book store again or never be allowed in a library again?
Another really difficult one. I would have to say library, but only because my local libraries don't stay very up to date and rarely have whole series in stock. It's unfortunate as I am a wholehearted supporter of libraries and the work that they do. If I could change anything it would be to fund them better.

Would you rather:
Have to choose one of your favorite characters to die in their book or have to pick one of your favorite couples to break up in their book?
Break up, simple as. Death is permanent, a breakup doesn't have to be.

Would you rather:
Be required to read Twilight once a year for the rest of your life or The Scarlet Letter once a year for the rest of your life?
I already read Twilight about once a year.

There... My dirty little secret.

Enjoy! Comment your links below. I would love to see yours.

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Bout of books 15 - All in one post (from phone)

Please excuse the formatting. I am currently blogging from my phone. 

It's Bout of Books time!

What a perfect way to kick-start the reading year.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team. 


I am not setting any as such, except that I will read in some way every day this week. I will also attempt the challenges and I really want to make it to the twitter chat this time. 


Day 1: 

Read: Audio book - Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (Around 50%) 

Challenge - #insixwords completed on Twitter. 

Day 2: 

Read: Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi (Around 70%)

Challenge - Would You Rather. Post is somewhere around here but I'm blogging by phone this time around. 

Day 3:

Read: Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi (75%)

No challenge today because I didn't get time and my bookshelf is a mess. 

Day 4:

Read: finished Shatter Me.

Completed the challenge as a comment. (link will be added).  I'm really enjoying this bout. I'm determined to complete Unravel me by Sunday too! 

Day 5: 

Read: 6% of Unravel me by Tahereh Mafi. 

No Challenge which was a shame as I liked this one. Just didn't have the time spare. 

Day 6: 

Read: Nothing read. But I did clean my house. Jackpot. 

I also took part in the twitter chat (and arrived on time) 

Day 7: how is it the end?

Read:Pretty much nothing because I have been struck down with the flu. No challenge for the same reason. 

Weekly recap : This has been amazing. I have focused on finding time to read and I've read more because of it. 

Roll on next time x

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Meme: Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR

1-3 Wither by Lauren Destefano (Plus the rest of the series)

Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery has only four years left to live when she is kidnapped by the Gatherers and forced into a polygamous marriage. Now she has one purpose: to escape, find her twin brother, and go home – before her time runs out forever.

4. Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill

Eves are designed, not made. The School trains them to be pretty. The School trains them to be good. The school trains them to Always be Willing.
All their lives, the eves have been waiting. Now, they are ready for the outside world. Companion, concubine or chastity. Only the best will be chosen. And only the Men decide.

5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill - the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

6. Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. Heather never thought she would compete in panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors. She'd never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he's sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he's not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

7. Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
I have this dream that, secretly, all teenage girls feel exactly like me. And maybe one day, when we realize that we all feel the same, we can all stop pretending we're something we're not... But until that day, I'm going to keep it real on this blog and keep it unreal in real life.
Penny has a secret.
Under the alias Girl Online, Penny blogs her hidden feelings about friendship, boys, high school drama, her crazy family, and the panic attacks that have begun to take over her life. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets Noah, a gorgeous, guitar-strumming American. Suddenly Penny is falling in love - and capturing every moment of it on her blog.
But Noah has a secret, too, one that threatens to ruin Penny's cover - and her closest friendship - forever.

8-10 Boring Uni Books. 

This year's reading list is going to limit my fun reading. Twelve books may not sound like much but when it includes the likes of Tartuffe, The Spanish Tragedy and Hamlet I can imagine it is going to be hard going. On the plus side I also have to read Pride and Prejudice. Oh the strain. 

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