What Happened to September?

In a few short days it will be October.. October already!? I can’t believe it. September has been one of the craziest most beautiful months of my life. I may not have been as productive this month, but I’m proud of what I have done and I think that is worth something.

One of the things I never imagined for myself was being in a relationship. I mean.. I imagined it, but I didn’t think it would ever actually happen. It doesn’t really help that I can be pretty particular about who I fall for (except I can’t really control it so I guess that doesn’t matter). Not only that, but to be in a relationship with a guy who is so caring and supportive and just all around wonderful. I couldn’t ask for more.

The thing about this is that I’m not used to it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be used to it. Every time I see his face I just get this really incredible happy feeling and I never thought I’d feel that way for someone. Falling in love and falling in love this fast was something I thought was reserved for the books I read. Apparently, love can be like a wildfire.

Talking with him at first I knew I wanted to get to know him. Instantly he fascinated me. But the more we talked the more I knew that I wanted more. At first, I knew I wanted to discuss books with him and writing and whatever else, I knew somehow from the start that we’d make very fast friends. Uhh.. I didn’t expect that we’d have fallen so quickly for each other though.

The two of us can talk about anything..literally anything and it’s wonderful. So due to him being the wonderful human that he is, I’ve been happier then I’ve ever been in my life. For the first time in forever I made it a point to enjoy every moment of my time. I let myself just be. I have been somewhat productive and I’ve had some really productive days and some where all I wanted to do was listen to music and maybe watch a movie and read and so I’d let myself do those things. It feels like I blinked my eyes and September is almost ending.

Falling in love has taught me one really special thing though. That no matter what is happening in life there is always something beautiful to hold on to and enjoy no matter how small. That it’s ok to let go of your worry for a while and that problems may exist, but that doesn’t mean it should be all that consumes you. You can choose to let go of your problems (not ignore them) but to realize that they are going to be there at the end of the day and you can deal with them as you need to, but you don’t have to let that impede on your happiness.

Sometimes life can be really really hard. However, sometimes the most unexpected and beautiful things happen to lift you out of the dark. I am so grateful to feel this happy. To realize I don’t need much to feel that way. It comes with seeing a smile, hearing a voice, the sound of a laugh. That’s something that feels so very special.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

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Freedom From Netgalley

I am finally.. finally free from my Netgalley obligations!!! That’s right.. completely and totally free!

I do not have a 100% feedback ratio. Because of the way I requested books at one point a lot of the books became unavailable because I took to long to get to them.. I am NEVER over requesting books again. From now on.. it’s one or two at a time.

Look at that 87% feedback rating… feels so good! I feel badly about the 15 novels that fell through the cracks.. some of them I didn’t review because they were problematic and I didn’t want to read them and others because I didn’t manage my time right and no longer had access to those books, but I got to a majority of the books and it feels like a true success!

I’m going to steer clear of Netgalley for a while.. I have quite a few books on my shelves and ebooks that I want to get to. I have some books on my shelves I should have read a LONG time ago, but now I am free to read what I want. Maybe I’ll reread a few things. Who knows? I might request the occasional Netgalley read, but for now my book shelves look really good to me.

This Netgalley clean-up took months! I kinda messed things up for myself when I did my book a day thing for the longest time.. it burned me out. Especially writing reviews all the time. It made me so unhappy with my blog and I just wanted to get back to writing posts the way I used to… daily, but whatever I wanted. It’d be nice to do some tags again. I have a couple of projects I’m thinking of doing. All I know is.. it feels good to be free!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

Check out my Twitter and Instagram!

-Till next time!

Let’s Rant: Our Bodies, Not Yours

I got up this morning. Read some blog posts. Ate some waffles. Felt pretty generally happy. Then.. then I went on Twitter and I saw this tweet from Annie-Marie McLemore. An author whose books I’ve desperately wanted to read for ages now and her tweet made my skin grow cold.

Her words.. that’s a reality for almost every girl out there. You talk to any girl and they have stories like this. Even me.

But, what really made me upset was not only her age, but the audacity of the teacher to tell her “Well what did you do to make him do that?” That made my blood boil. It’s an absolutely disgusting mentality to have. She was a child.. and your giving her that mentality that it’s her fault that a guy got the idea in his head to lay claim on her body. That it was ok. It makes me want to scream.

Victim shaming is the single most awful thing I have ever seen. Because sometimes.. sometimes the victim does start to believe it was their fault. When it isn’t. The answer to that awful question is always nothing. No girl ever asks to be touched like that. The only time that any sexual activity is ok is when there is mutual consent. That’s it. No touchy.. feely.. nothing unless it’s what both parties want. I don’t care if a girl decides that she wants to wear the shortest mini-skirt and just a bra to go out.. it does not give a guy permission to feel her up.

The whole “what did you do?” Mentality just gives men a free pass to do whatever the hell they want and not get punished for it. That shit is just that complete and utter bull shit and everyone needs to cut the crap. As much as the “what did you do” mentality suggests that men are animals… they are not. They have brains. They can have self-control. They are not controlled solely by the thing in their pants. They can keep their hands to themselves and show some respect. It’s all a stupid game. It’s this mentality that so many people wear as armor so that they can fool people into thinking that it wasn’t their fault. That they couldn’t help themselves. That they couldn’t register the girl saying no. That somehow the actions that they took with their own hands wasn’t their fault.

I thought I was done with the personal posts for a while, but as it turns out I’m just getting started.

I didn’t think I’d ever share this on here, but I’m fed up and these stories need to be shared.

I have a few stories actually.

The first wasn’t that long ago. Several months ago their was a boy that I worked with. We used to talk about music and whatever else and I saw him as a friend. He was one of those people who liked to give hugs and at first I didn’t think much of it. However, I started to notice that he’d give these side hugs where his arm would go around my chest and then one night I was bagging up food to go into the display and he was leaving and he thought it was a good idea to hug me from behind placing his hands by where my ovaries are. I immediately felt this rush of panic and anger. It didn’t matter that it was quick. It didn’t matter that we’d talked and were sort of friends. Touching me like that.. so intimately.. I was livid. Before he left I yelled at him, “That was the most uncomfortable hug I’ve ever had… don’t ever ever do that again I said… don’t ever think of doing that to any girl ever.. It’s not ok… I don’t know how you could have thought that that was ok.”

He had the sense to back off.. he apologized profusely, but I had my personal space violated. A hug like that is one I want from my boyfriend and from my boyfriend only. It’s a kind of hug that signifies trust and love and intimacy. None of which I had with that guy at my work.. not even close. It wasn’t just me though. He hugged the other girl we both worked with the same way. It’s not ok.

The other.. much longer.. story is this:

In high school there was a boy I was nice to. He wasn’t liked by very many people and when we would pass in the hallway I thought it was a grand idea to be nice and say hi. I would chat with him and treat him like a person and I didn’t realize that it would make him think I wanted anything other then friendship and I was wrong. During summer of sophomore year I took pre-cal at a university so that I could be ahead and take more advanced classes at school. Apparently, this was the same university where this guys sister was taking classes. One day, he showed up hours before pick up and found me where I was eating lunch. I didn’t think much of it at the time since it was simply a surprise to me and I didn’t have anything against him. I had thought of him as a friend. So when he asked me for my number I gave it to him. Except.. every single day after that he’d show up early hours before pick up trying to catch me on my break. So instead of confronting him like I should have I stayed in class to eat lunch. When he called asking to hang out I told him that my mom wouldn’t like it (I should have just told him I didn’t want to). For the next several weeks of an intensive pre-cal class I would eat inside.. run the fastest route to where my mom would wait for me in her car and I blocked the guys number. To this day I don’t understand how he didn’t get the hint. When we were at school again he’d ask me to give him a hug and I’d brush him off and go in a different direction. In truth.. the whole thing terrified me. I lived my life in school finding ways to always be absent from wherever he was. The thing is I was at work yesterday and I saw that very same guy pass by and it filled me with the same dread as I had in school. The thing is.. a lot of people weren’t nice to him, because everyone could tell that he was mentally off. But being me.. knowing what it felt like not to have any friends it was always important to be nice. I didn’t expect for it to end up getting me a stalker. To this day I get all in my head and even though I know I could defend myself if I absolutely had to.. it’s the wonder of not knowing what someone is capable of. I’m not in the business of underestimating someone because I could physically take them on… or because they look harmless.. in this world of knifes and guns and awful situations I can’t help but feel afraid sometimes. I hate that this guy can make me feel that way. That just one look at his face filled me with dread. It’s not even a violation of the sexual kind, but a violation on my ability to live my life freely.. of not feeling like I have to be afraid. Of wondering if someone’s going to do something.. of having spent a lot of time being scarce so that none of those things had even a remote chance of happening.

Then there are the smaller stories.. guys asking me if I wanted a bite of the food they just bought at my work (that’s happened several times and it’s the weirdest thing ever). A guy who called me babe out of no where also while I was serving him food at work. I hate being called babe or baby anyway (my grandmother used to call me by them). Being called babe within a minute of someone looking at you feels so degrading. The guy that saw me walking to work and decided to walk next to me and complemented my eyes and when I finally was inside the safety of my work he stood there for a few seconds staring at me and said that he just wanted to stare at my eyes for a while. All this.. it makes me feel like I can’t be seen as a person. That all a guy can see is my face, my eyes, and take any smile as an invitation. It isn’t.

Sometimes I get it. Two people have to meet somehow, but there are boundaries. A lot of the time those boundaries are crossed. It’s why it’s so important to me that I’m liked as a person first before anything more. That I’m respected. That if I say no I’m respected. That I can trust the person I choose to love. That I feel safe with them. There have been far too many times where others have made me feel the opposite.

One of the most powerful words I’ve heard someone say went something like this “most of the women I know have stories like these.. most of the men I know are good men.. but for every time a pass is made in a dining room 5 of the women in that same room could raise their hand and say me too.” The men that end up thinking that they can touch a women as much as they want tend to be repeat offenders. Most men are good men, but for the ones that take things many steps too far they hurt more the just one women. They touch multiple lives. Taint multiple lives. That’s a big part of why that tweet made me so upset. That boy who touched Annie.. how many more girls would he grow up to touch? What would he escalate to? Especially when he was taught at such a young age that he wouldn’t be punished for it.

Our bodies are our own. They are not meant for anyone, but ourselves. To be shared only with whom we choose to share it with. Our bodies are not meant to be claimed like that’s all we are good for. What we choose to do with our bodies is our choice and our choice alone. To have that taken away from us is a violation of basic human rights.

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts down in the comments… I meant to put together my Most Anticipated post today, but this came about instead. I’m kinda glad though. It’s an important subject to me. I think we all should be able to speak up about these things.

-Till next time!

Fresh Ink: A Review

Fresh Ink by Many Authors

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 5/10 it’s an ok cover. A bit generic. I think they could have done something really cool with graffiti art showcasing some really great art of people of all colors, shapes, and sizes. I think it was a missed opportunity.

Publisher: Random House Children’s

Publish Date: August 14th, 2018

Number of Pages: 208 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors come together in this remarkable YA anthology featuring ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print.

Careful–you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written–whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.”

Musings:

Eraser Tattoo by Jason Reynolds

““I love you.” It slipped easily from his lips. Like breathing. Like usual.”

This was a sweet little story. I didn’t realize that eraser tattoos were a thing. It was a pretty little slice of life and I loved it. The writing of this little short story was beautiful. It really drew me in!

Meet Cute by Malinda Lo

“Tamia cocked her head at Nic. “Is gender-flipped Sulu gay too?””

This was another really cute little story about the art of subtle.. yet not so subtle communication. I thought it was cool to see the curiosity of meeting a prospective love and wonder if they were of the same sexuality as you on top of wondering if there is actually any interest in the first place. I also loved that this took place at a comic-con.

Don’t Pass Me By by Eric Gansworth

“He glanced down at my paper. “I see. Hubert. But you know, the assignment wasn’t a self-portrait.” “It was, if you’re white,” I said.”

This story is one of my favorites. I so enjoyed seeing race depicted in this way. A lot of thought went into this. I could see in my mind very clearly what this would have looked like as it played out. Very well-written.

Be Cool for Once by Aminah Mae Safi

“He pulled out a Chap Stick and swiped it across his lips. Like he’d decided to draw shining arrows to all of Shirin’s favorite parts.”

I loved this short story! Shirin and the way she thinks of the guy she’s been crushing on is exactly me. I really loved how her thoughts were written.. with that dramatic flavor of a girl in love. It all put a huge smile on my face.

Tags by Walter Dean Myers

“BIG EDDIE works hard at his tag, which is the letters spelling out smoke sitting on a bed of flames.”

This story was oddly powerful to me. It felt so real. Which is something because it was set in the afterlife. I liked the style of it, written like a play. It reminded me of the sad reality of gang violence. The lives that are lost and for what? It’s a culture of kill or be killed that should never have had to been a part of reality.

Why I Learned to Cook by Sara Farizan

““You don’t apologize for who you are. I’m an old lady now and perhaps that doesn’t mean much in the world we live in, but I exist and I shouldn’t have to be sorry for that. As a woman, you have to know that. Don’t ever apologize for who you are,””

Another super sweet little story. This one made my heart all happy. I loved seeing so much cultural influence in this story. The food and the places it all felt rooted in a experience totally different from my own and I loved that.

A Stranger at the Bochinche by Daniel José Older

“Gather, my children, I have a story.”

I feel like this story could have been made into a much longer one. It was packed with great description and full of adventure. I really liked it!

A Boy’s Duty by Sharon G. Flake

“Slaughtering pigs and wringing chicken necks did as much to chase me toward books as any teacher ever did.”

Again I could see this being a whole book. I really liked the character and I loved seeing how he dreamed. This was a really cool historical set short story!

One Voice: A Something in Between Story by Melissa de la Cruz

“I wanted everyone to see the truth—that even Stanford wasn’t free from this kind of hate.”

I loved this story. It made me feel like going out there and spreading my truth in such a beautiful way. It made me want to stand up and hold hands with people of all kinds and show that in my mind we are all valid, worthy, and wonderful people. Every day I see people of all kinds. The community I live in is so diverse and I think that if the diversity wasn’t there it would be colorless. I would feel empty from the lack of beauty. Hate is out there, but the more we choose to stand against it the more it weakens. That’s what I loved most about this story.

Paladin/Samurai by Gene Luen Yang, Illustrations by Thien Pham

“Aaand I’m Japanese.. hm, I wonder what a Japanese Paladin is called? Wait lemme think…That’s right we’re called Samurai!”

This was such a fun read. It made me laugh and it made me feel happy to see people standing up for what they believed in. It was super short, but I loved the drawings especially the fantasy parts!

Catch, Pull, Drive by Schuyler Bailar

“I used to dream of getting breast cancer.”

This was my favorite one. I can say wholeheartedly that this is the story that pulled at my heartstrings the most. It was so real and so full of the emotions of what it is to live life in the body of someone who you aren’t. That line above tore me up.. I love to hear stories from the trans community. To me they have a struggle that is one of the hardest because they are just trying to show themselves and the world who they are inside and be strong when there are people from all communities and walks of life standing against them. I have mad respect for the people of the trans community they have some of the toughest armor out there.

Super Human by Nicola Yoon

““I won’t hurt you,” he says. Which is ridiculous, because that is the whole point of her being here. He is going to hurt everyone.”

Wow… just wow. I don’t have the words for this one. It gave me chills. This was such a beautiful heartbreaking story. I wanted more.. so much more and yet it was perfect in its length. So.. so good!

Final Thoughts:

Our stories matter. All of our stories matter. I am so tired of living in a world where we look at each other and our difference is all we see. We all feel. We all love. We all are trapped in the same cells of bodies that we must walk with everyday. We all have issues. We all have dreams. Every book store. Every library. Every show. Every movie. Every piece of art. Should be filled with the experiences of all of us. With all of our passions. So many of us feel forgotten by the world. So many of us feel like we don’t matter. But we matter. We all matter. I am tired of living in a world where it’s all about just pure survival. I am tired of living in a world that for many compassion is forgotten. A lot of the time the weight of it all just makes me tired. Yet, still everyday I wake up and I try. I get so angry at some of the stories I read sometimes. Stories where people get so full of themselves that they lack basic respect for fellow human lives. Where they judge like their opinion is the only one that matters. Like how they were wronged is the only thing that matters. It makes me so angry and so so very sad. Sometimes I want to shake people and tell them to open their eyes.. and see.. look at these people.. look at how they dance.. how they laugh.. how they cry.. how they celebrate…how they kiss.. how they hug.. how they scream and shout for what they believe in.. and show them don’t you do the same? Don’t you laugh and cry and celebrate and work and keep taking every day step by step… don’t you see that them living their lives the way they want to does nothing to make your life any less. Reading Fresh Ink reminded me of that chip in my soul that angers for all the wrong. That just wants to see the world be a place where we could all be peaceful and happy. That even if I can’t do much on my own.. I can work to be compassionate. That maybe, if I could inspire one other person to do the same (all the time not just some of the time) that it would all be worth it. We need more anthologies like this. More inspiring works. More words that shake the people who read them and remind them of what they are fighting for.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

-Till next time!

A Journey in Weightloss

In what has been the craziest 2 years of my life emotionally I went through many avenues of change, mentally, physically, and environmentally. Every time I think of the sheer amount of stuff that has happened I go nuts. In the same two years I hit one of my lowest lows and now I’ve reached the highest point of happiness since I was a little kid. However, that part of my journey is for another time. Right now, I want to talk about something that fills me with pride. The fact that I took control of one of the few things I have control over and worked hard and got noticeable results.

Let’s talk high school graduation. In 2016 I graduated high school with honors. I hadn’t been playing volleyball anymore or doing to much exercise wise and I weighed 158 pounds back then. For my body that’s not so bad because of the places my body carries fat and because of my height which is about 5’6″. At that point I didn’t really want to gain more and I wasn’t exactly happy with my weight, but for the most part it wasn’t something I thought about too much.

In my first and only year at a physical college I gained a little weight getting to about 162 pounds. I started to worry about it a little, but the end of that first year was when shit hit the fan for me at home and I could no longer afford to go to the university I was at and instead started college classes online so I could work.

Transitioning from college student to working girl at the age of 18 was really hard on me. I didn’t really know how to handle it emotionally. Things were no longer about the good times and working towards the future I wanted. They were about struggling every day to make ends meet, working pay check to pay check, and trying to figure out how to breath underneath all that stress. At first, I didn’t deal with everything all that well and at that point food became comforting to me… especially junk food. Before I turned around I was 168 pounds looking in the mirror and realizing that if I didn’t do something and do it right then and there I was going to end up really fat with a lot of health problems like my grandmother and with a whole plethora of body image issues.

At first I didn’t know what to do. I had never ever lost weight before. Growing up I was pretty much always at the right weight for my body and didn’t ever have a weight issue until that point. The one thing I knew was to watch what I was eating. At the time whenever I was even a little hungry I would snack. I didn’t pay attention to what I put in my body and I suffered for it. However, the big starting point came from a video buzzfeed did 7 months ago called We did 100 Squats a Day for 30 Days . I watched it and an idea started brewing in my head and I thought why not try it?

It took me about 2 weeks, but eventually I decided to give it a go. At first, I didn’t notice any changes in myself and really it didn’t matter. What mattered was the action of doing those squats everyday. I was only going to do them for the 30 Days, but I realized that I liked doing it so I never stopped. Of course, I have days I don’t do them. Sometimes I feel a little lazy or my life is being hectic, but most days I get up and do them.

About 2 months into it I started thinking seriously about my food intake (which I feel is the major factor in me loosing the weight). I downloaded a fitness app and looked at my caloric intake and turned myself into a science experiment. For a while I tracked everything I ate. Doing so allowed me to realize just how much food I was eating and how many calories some foods had and not others. It taught me something about portions and eating just enough for my body. Now I don’t use it anymore. I’ve gotten to where I listen to my body and know what is and isn’t too much.

At about month 4 I had a lot of change in the way my jeans were fitting.. they began to be looser.. then looser still.. then much looser and I had to buy new jeans.. and then (they are the jeans I wear now) I noticed they too were not as tight as when I first put them on.

Then two months ago I added 100 crunches to my daily routine because I was loosing more on the bottom then around my stomach and I wanted to change that. It wasn’t long till I started to see that my figure that had once started to get boxy now has a waist. Even my face started to become noticeably thinner.

Today, I am back at 158 pounds. Back to where I begun. 10 pounds in 7 months. It’s not some crazy weight-loss journey. But it’s my very real journey of change and it is still ongoing. I’m still loosing weight. I don’t really have a goal. It isn’t even really about the scale number. All I wanted was to feel healthy in my own skin again. To have the ability to have the clothes I liked to fit and fit well. To feel strong and confident in my own skin again. That is something that I’m happy to say I’ve feel like I’ve accomplished.

I am still continuing on with this journey. This isn’t something I want to give up on after all the hard work and progress. So in the next few months I think I will be able to say that I look and feel better then I ever have. That my body would look better then it did in high school. That I took control of one of the few things I had control over and took something I’d been insecure about for so long and made a change for myself. I’d always wanted to have an athletic build. To feel powerful in my own skin. To do everything I needed to in a day and not feel so exhausted. I’m actually getting to that point.

From now on, I am making it a point to put my health first. To continue shaping myself into the person I always had the potential to be. One of the greatest parts about this journey has been this: it taught me that small steps can have a huge impact.. that if you want something to happen you have to work for it.. that when you take steps towards a healthier you a healthier mindset follows.

It gives me a feeling of great wonder to see in the next 7 months where I’ll be.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Hello everyone! I wanted to share a guest post I did with one of my all-time favorite people Andrew @GroovyGlasses. He asked me some questions about my mental health experience. Check it out!

Hey guys, welcome back to “Groovy Glasses”! I could not be more excited about today, because today I have a very special post, with a very special guest. (Although to be perfectly honest, I feel like the guest here!) As you all know, the mental illness community is something I actively work to contribute to. […]

via Fireside Talks #1 Interviewing Tiana, The Book Raven — Groovy Glasses

Freedom

Taking the slow steps of a doe out of a cage and into the forest legs shaking, mind wondering, fear showing in the quiver of matted fur, the mind questions if it is all a trick?

In the grand expanse of a world beyond pain a nose picks up the scent of fresh grass for the first time.

Slow steps forward follow slow steps back until finally the doe is out of the cage and the doors shut behind her.

Every sound is awash with twin thoughts of skittish fear and awe.

The world seems almost too bright for her; the music of the wind, so soft causes her panic.

Yet every moment brings new peace and slowly she walks until she comes upon a stream.

Her nostrils flare and she bends her head drinking fresh clean water for the first time in her life.

Finally she allows herself to bathe in the shallow stream and as the water cleans her fur she starts to prance her heart beating fast with hope.

Her tail wags and her hooves clack against the stone bottom in a happy dance.

Into the night she finds herself shelter and food to eat.

She sleeps a peaceful sleep and her nightmares are chased away by imagined days of prancing.

At last.. At last.. at last the doe is free.

The hunter far away.

The doe dancing in a world where she’d never be seen again.

Thanks for reading! This is a poem that has been one of my absolute favorites to write. When I found the first words everything just started to flow. I miss feeling like that while writing poetry.

Let me know your thoughts down in the comments!

-Till next time!

Stepping Away From Self-Sabotage

All my life I’ve felt the need to celebrate the small victories. To reward myself for being productive. To celebrate any moment where my mind felt like it was on a path to healing. However, every time I let myself share when I’m feeling really good about myself.. I would immediately regress.

Any moment I would share that I woke up early or that I did something around the house without being told or made myself from breakfast would be followed by me refusing to continue the positive pattern later. It’s ridiculous actually. Sometimes I just wont let myself accept when things are good. I don’t know how to handle good in my life. I feel like I have to balance everything out when life usually has no problem with giving me problems.

I’m working on accepting the good in my life. I’m working on allowing myself to be happy without feeling the need to sabotage that happiness. To let myself come to the understanding that I deserve to be happy. That things don’t have to be about struggling all the time. To choose to accept the good, because recently its begun to outweigh the bad.

I don’t think enough people talk about transitioning from a life of heaviness to a life of lightness and happiness often enough. No one talks about what it’s like for someone that has a lot of bad things happen in their lives to suddenly feel like there isn’t wolves waiting to bring them down just around the corner. What it feels like to feel safe and comforted when all you’ve known is what it was to have to be the only person there for yourself. To accept that beautiful change. To let yourself feel free.

All I want right now is to accept the incredible change in perspective that I’ve had in my life. The past month has been more beautiful then difficult. I’m not used to that. My family and I are still struggling, but I see my future with new eyes. It’s so weird to move forward without the fear. My need to make things more difficult for myself bothers me. I want to take the gem I’ve been given and never let it go. I don’t want to feel undeserving. I don’t want to sabotage myself anymore.

So I’m just going to shake off the old way I’ve thought all my life. Let it fall away from me like water. To take up my newfound happiness and share it with whomever I can. Maybe I could take it and inspire something wonderful in other people. That sounds like a much better plan then trying to undo it.

Thanks for reading! I’ve been a lot more personal on my blog recently. A lot has happened good and not so good in recent times. I feel myself changing a lot and in really great ways. Or maybe I’m just finding myself becoming the person I always was beneath the surface. I want to take this feeling and run with it with no regrets.

Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Top 10: 5 Star Predictions

One of the best parts of being a book lover is seeing new books and imagining how good they seem. Sometimes you see a book and you just know.. much the same as when you fall in love. These are some books that I simply just know I’m going to love.

Summer Bird Blue

“Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.”

The author of my favorite novel ever, Starfish, recently released this beautiful gem and I can’t wait to one day own, read, and rate it 5 Stars. There is no doubt in my mind.. I’m going to love this book. Everything about it sounds amazing.

Perks of Being a Wallflower

“Read the cult-favorite coming of age story that takes a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical, and always honest look at high school in all its glory. Also a major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a funny, touching, and haunting modern classic.

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

A #1 New York Times best seller for more than a year, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults (2000) and Best Book for Reluctant Readers (2000), and with millions of copies in print, this novel for teen readers (or “wallflowers” of more-advanced age) will make you laugh, cry, and perhaps feel nostalgic for those moments when you, too, tiptoed onto the dance floor of life.”

This is the love of my life’s favorite book and I have no doubt that I’m going to love it too. I’ve wanted to read it for a very long time, but I hadn’t had a real chance to read it till now. I know I’m going to pick this book up very soon!

A Line in the Dark

“The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.

Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. While nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more curse than gift.

As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.

When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend.

“It doesn’t even matter that she probably doesn’t understand how much she means to me. It’s purer this way. She can take whatever she wants from me, whenever she wants it, because I’m her best friend.”

A Line in the Dark is a story of love, loyalty, and murder.”

Ever since I first saw this cover I had this weird fascination with this book. I want to read it terribly. It’s a book that is very much a me kinda book and I am really hoping it’s as good as I believe it to be.

Reign of the Fallen

“Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?”

Everything about this sounds like the makings of a fantastic fantasy. It will be one of the first necromancer books I read and I just have a really good feeling about it.

The Art of Starving

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More Happy Than Not meets Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future in this gritty, contemporary YA debut about a bullied gay teen boy with an eating disorder who believes he’s developed super powers via starvation.

Matt hasn’t eaten in days.

His stomach stabs and twists inside, pleading for a meal. But Matt won’t give in. The hunger clears his mind, keeps him sharp—and he needs to be as sharp as possible if he’s going to find out just how Tariq and his band of high school bullies drove his sister, Maya, away.

Matt’s hardworking mom keeps the kitchen crammed with food, but Matt can resist the siren call of casseroles and cookies because he has discovered something: the less he eats the more he seems to have . . . powers. The ability to see things he shouldn’t be able to see. The knack of tuning in to thoughts right out of people’s heads. Maybe even the authority to bend time and space.

So what is lunch, really, compared to the secrets of the universe?

Matt decides to infiltrate Tariq’s life, then use his powers to uncover what happened to Maya. All he needs to do is keep the hunger and longing at bay. No problem. But Matt doesn’t realize there are many kinds of hunger… and he isn’t in control of all of them.

A darkly funny, moving story of body image, addiction, friendship, and love, Sam J. Miller’s debut novel will resonate with any reader who’s ever craved the power that comes with self-acceptance.”

I KNOW I’m going to love this book. From the moment I saw the cover (which is 10/10 for me) I knew I had to give it a shot and when I read the synopsis I was blown away. I can’t wait to finally read this book!

Ink

“Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever. When Leora’s father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all.”

The cover.. the premise.. I feel like this book was created especially for me. I’m going to be so upset if this isn’t a 5 star read for me.

They Both Die at the End

“Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.”

I’m probably going to cry when I get to read this. I don’t really care. I just know that this story is going to be a beautiful one.

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree

“On April 14, 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls. Some managed to escape. Many are still missing. A new pair of shoes, a university degree, a husband—these are the things that a girl dreams of in a Nigerian village. A girl who works hard in school and to help her family. A girl with a future as bright as live coals in the dark. And with a government scholarship right around the corner, everyone—her mother, her five brothers, her best friend, her teachers—can see that these dreams aren’t too far out of reach. Even if the voices on Papa’s radio tell more fearful news than tales to tell by moonlight.

But the girl’s dreams turn to nightmares when her village is attacked by Boko Haram, a terrorist group, in the middle of the night. Kidnapped, she is taken with other girls and women into the forest where she is forced to follow her captors’ radical beliefs and watch as her best friend slowly accepts everything she’s been told. Still, the girl defends her existence. As impossible as escape may seem, her life—her future—is hers to fight for.”

This is a gem I found recently and I can’t wait to one day own and read it. It sounds so impactful. I know I’m going to love it.

Jane, Unlimited

“If you could change your story, would you?

Jane has lived a mostly ordinary life, raised by her recently deceased aunt Magnolia, whom she counted on to turn life into an adventure. Without Aunt Magnolia, Jane is directionless. Then an old acquaintance, the glamorous and capricious Kiran Thrash, blows back into Jane’s life and invites her to a gala at the Thrashes’ extravagant island mansion called Tu Reviens. Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.”

What Jane doesn’t know is that at Tu Reviens her story will change; the house will offer her five choices that could ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But every choice comes with a price. She might fall in love, she might lose her life, she might come face-to-face with herself. At Tu Reviens, anything is possible.”

I ADORE Kristin Cashore. I know that whatever she writes is going to be amazing to me. Plus this is magical realism and I am so pumped for a magical realism from her!

Dealing in Dreams

“At night, Las Mal Criadas own these streets.

Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That roles brings with it violent throw downs and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but the sixteen-year-old grows weary of the life. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live. To make it to the Mega towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in a search for a mysterious gang the Ashé Ryders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles other crews and her own doubts, but the closer she gets to her goal, the more she loses sight of everything—and everyone— she cares about.

Nalah must do the unspeakable to get what she wants—a place to call home. But is a home just where you live? Or who you choose to protect?”

The day I first saw this cover revealed was a really good day. I LOVE this cover. I don’t even want to know anything else, but because I trust that this author is good and that the contents are going to be amazing this easily makes it onto this list!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post. What book on your tbr do you predict to be a 5 star read?

-Till next time!

The Darkest Part of the Forest: A Review

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

My Rating: 5/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 8.5/10! I love this cover! When I first saw it I knew I had to read this book one day! I love how organic it is and how well it goes with the novel. Plus I love the touch of the butterfly. It is really pretty.

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Publish Date: January 13th, 2015

Number of Pages: 336

Received: My e-gift from Andrew @GroovyGlasses

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

A girl makes a secret sacrifice to the faerie king in this lush New York Times bestselling fantasy by author Holly Black

In the woods is a glass coffin. It rests on the ground, and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives….

Hazel and her brother, Ben, live in Fairfold, where humans and the Folk exist side by side. Since they were children, Hazel and Ben have been telling each other stories about the boy in the glass coffin, that he is a prince and they are valiant knights, pretending their prince would be different from the other faeries, the ones who made cruel bargains, lurked in the shadows of trees, and doomed tourists. But as Hazel grows up, she puts aside those stories. Hazel knows the horned boy will never wake.

Until one day, he does….

As the world turns upside down, Hazel has to become the knight she once pretended to be.

The Darkest Part of the Forest is bestselling author Holly Black’s triumphant return to the opulent, enchanting faerie tales that launched her YA career.

Opening Sentence: “Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin.”

Musings:

The Darkest Part of the Forest mixes reality and fantasy in a beautiful blend to create a story that is part magic, part fairy, and part totally human. My intro into the world of Holly Black did not disappoint. This story of magic, family, love, and never giving up left a mark on my heart. The Darkest Part of the Forest will always be a special book to me.

What I Loved:

There is a doctor who reference. Not just any doctor who reference, but one about my favorite doctor Matt Smith.. my sweet fluff ball bow tie boy. The one that made me refuse to watch seasons past his leaving, because I was heartbroken.. I’m going to rewatch all of doctor who and finally get to the new seasons because I HAVE to see the new female doctor! I just have to! Anyway, I have been a fully fledged Whovian since middle school and I feel like I lost the right to that badge of honor. I need to rewatch and take it back. Anyway, I ADORE Holly for putting that reference in there.

A modern take on some classic fantasy. I love how rooted this story is in the contemporary era, but placed in a town touched by magic and fantasy. It creates this really cool split between normal reality and oddities and I loved that.

The image of a horned boy in a class coffin. We all know and love the fairy tale this reminds us of. Yet somehow I found that the image and story that came from this impacted me more then sleeping beauty. That’s a really big accomplishment considering the princess obsessed little girl I was once.

The LGBT Rep. It was really beautiful to read about a brother and sister pair that both grew up loving the same magical boy. The way that things played out in the end was so beautiful. I loved too.. what situations it created for both Hazel and her brother and how it brought them closer together and yet further apart for different reasons.

An original changeling storyline. I loved the secondary plot of a changeling boy being taken in to live as the brother of a boy he was supposed to trade places with. I loved how uniquely his story formed and how it added depth to the story that I think would have been missing without it.

The often lyrical writing. Holly writes beautifully… like really beautifully. I loved how her dark and lyrical writing made imagery come to life in my mind. It makes me so excited to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (which I’ve owned for a while, but haven’t got a chance to read yet). Her writing style is really unique and it grabs your attention immediately. Even in the first line you can tell just how easily it grabs attention.

Final thoughts:

The Darkest Part of the Forest is a book I feel I got to read at just the right time. It’s fantastic and daring and full of really great writing. The details of it are as beautiful as the cover. I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to read this.

About the Author:

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and The Darkest Part of the Forest. She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.

Thanks so much for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this amazing book down in the comments below!

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-Till next time!