The Blog

Top Ten Tuesday: Auto-Buy Authors // The Ones That Keep My Boat Afloat

I have never participated in a Top Ten Tuesday before but then I figured… why not? It looks like a lot of fun and I like to have fun. 🙂 Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme created by The Broke and The Bookish but now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This one seems like a good one to start with because I know my go to authors when the world is drowning and I need my boat to ride through those waves. In other words (metaphors aside), these are the authors whose books I basically pre-order without even reading the description.

1. Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s so beautifully written and never fails to totally take me away from reality. That’s why I can’t wait for Erin Morgenstern’s next book, The Starless Sea. I can’t wait to be taken away somewhere beautiful and beyond my wildest dreams….

2. Leigh Bardugo

Leigh is a queen. Enough said. She had me sold from the beginning and never disappoints. Nikolai, Nikolai, oh Nikolai…..

3. Cassandra Clare

I enjoyed the Mortal Instruments but the Infernal Devices is really what sold me. I have read the series too many times to count that my copies are scribbled all over and very well read, so much so that the pages will open if they are just touched. Cassie you got me.

4. Maggie Stiefvater

Never has an author really hit a chord with me as much as Maggie. I don’t know what it is but I have a feeling our boats are out on the same sea. I love the way she tells a story and how she phrases things and introduces a character to the reader. Excelsior.

5. Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas I. Can’t. Even. Really. I’ve read every book in the ACOTAR series and I already have purchased basically every book in the Throne of Glass series that is just sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. Goodness gracious.

6. Diana Wynne Jones

My comfort food. Between Howl’s Moving Castle and Fire and Hemlock my top faves of Diana’s, she just makes me want to read every single book she ever written. And there is a lot of them. Whenever a storm is a brewing on the horizon I go to her and she always makes me feel better.

7. Markus Zusak

The Book Thief was my first absolute beyond all doubt favorite book of all time. I Am the Messenger is also another fantastic book by Zusak which of course I devoured all those years ago after I read The Book Thief, for like, four times in a row.

8. Neil Gaimon

Ahhhh yes. I love Coraline. I know it’s a little creepy, and disconcerting but…. gahhhh I can’t explain it. Neil Gaimon has a gift and American Gods is just waiting on my TBR pile. The Ocean at the End of the Lane was also another great read that I enjoyed by him.

9. Madeline Miller

Yes. Yes. Yes. Beautiful. Fantastic. Wonderful. Heartbreaking. Take my money Madeline Miller.

10. Suzanne Collins

I remember in high school devouring this series. It was all everyone was talking about and there’s a reason why. I’m so ready for the prequel next year. My boat shall keep floating till then.

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Who are some of the authors that float your boat? I’d love to chat in the comments below!

Till next time,

Living Life #12 “Can You Hear It?”

( a collection of independent vignettes)

Can you hear it?

At first, it sounds like the release of a long held breath. The kind where there are no bills in the mail, all of the work is done for the day, and everyone is home where they belong. Relief. The feeling floods you and makes the world safe. Then, when it breathes in, you turn your attention to it. Though not always because you wanted to. Sometimes it pulls at your mind so much it gives you no choice. Don’t be alarmed… all within a certain radius sense its pull. The air it carries is infused with its own special magic.

And the sight itself is beautiful.

The water has a pattern that plays over and over. It’s hypnotizing… and endless. Breathing out and coming forward, and breathing in and pulling back. It will play this game forever… and after it captures your eyes for longer than a glance you will want to play too.

It helps if it’s hot outside but that isn’t always necessary for some. On occasion even when the wind blows frost, I’ve witnessed the most steadfast soul become drowned in just the allure of the waves.

With each step closer the sand molds to your feet and again that safe feeling returns. Each grain wants you there, and each step sinks your heels deeper and deeper into the warmth of the ground.

It doesn’t matter that by the time you reach the end of the path your arches are burning because the water is right there kissing the fire away. A reward for making the long trek across the desert to say hello.

Back and forth, teasing you and bringing that relief again and again. Why bother with the game, when the ocean whispers to you just come a little closer and we never have to part.

Can you hear it?

Just a few more steps and now the water has a hold on your ankles. It feels like ice cream on a parched throat, a shower after playing in the mud, a fan blowing in your face. Safe. Oh so safe.

It isn’t until it’s caressing your waist that you hesitate. Some don’t even realize that they have gone that far out. It’s from feeling the pulse of the wind across the water, it’s from the crushing blue color of the sky and the sea meeting, it’s from dodging the waves that never stop coming.

Maybe this is too far.

The ocean is at its strongest by the time you reach this point. Everywhere you turn there’s water and the last time you checked there was no oxygen down there. Something rough scrapes against your heel and you jump moving a little bit deeper to get away. It was probably a sea shell.

I’m sure it was.

But the last part to this play is when the ocean’s breath no longer sounds like a sigh. Listen.

Now, it’s screaming. The realization hits you fast. The water moves by itself. It has no alligience to me. Or you. It does what it wants, and right now it is holding you in its hand. The feeling of safety drains from your body like sand down a hourglass as the next wave smashes into your mouth. A bitter taste of salt and seaweed. It’s this moment that you realize you could die.

Just come a little closer and we never have to part…

The tune never changes. Even though your feelings have. So you stand stuck trapped in what was once such a beautiful thing and, though your pounding heart will now say otherwise, it still is…

Can you hear the breath of the ocean? And if you do…

Are you strong enough to beat its game?

Living Life #11 “Solid Land”

(a collection of vignettes)

I bet I could catch him if I tried.

Like a goldfish in a mass of sharks I was trapped. With one arm pinned behind me and my other thrust forward with the paper in my hand I had to find a way to swim through. To my detriment though this wasn’t an ocean of water, but of concrete and business suits.

“Excuse meeeee.” I tried, squirming from under one elbow to another. The heat wasn’t helping anything. Beads of sweat were collecting at my temples and no matter how many times I ducked or swiveled I couldn’t escape the throng. There wasn’t time for this. I would need a different approach. “MOVE.” Well. That was more effective. “Please.”

A gangly guy with slipping glasses and a goatee moved immediately and the bald headed man in the pinstripe suit raised an eyebrow but to his credit knew when to follow an order. Even when it came from the mouth of a short girl with a ponytail of frizz. Couldn’t be helped.

A car horn blew by and between one breath and the next the mad dash of traffic running parallel to me dwindled to a trickle. No. Not yet. Just as my feet reached the corner of the street the crosswalk signal turned red.

“No.” I said out loud. Stretching in my sneakers, my eyes scanned ahead. Past the skyscrapers and coffee cups there was an endless sea of people, but there was just one fish I needed to catch… there. Just past the hot dog stand, right in front of the entrance to the park was the navy blue baseball cap.

I took a step forward. That’s when the horn hit me loud and clear. Right in front of my face the blur of a taxi rushed past, and I teetered back to the curb. That was close. The rest of the traffic stampeded past in front of me and the herd behind pushed like hammerheads testing the confines of the cage, but I kept my eyes locked on that cap just until it rounded the corner of the next block. The breath left my lungs.

The crosswalk light lit up. Deep breath in. I bolted, as did the rest of them. Being at the front of the pack was easier than being trapped in the middle. In no time at all, I distanced myself and took up the next challenge of weaving through the others floating along the street. The elderly couple I swung around shouted at my back, but I just crushed the paper tighter in my hand. The mother of three I was sure didn’t even see me breeze by, but her kid in the stroller giggled when I jumped over his fallen toy. After some awkward eye contact with the hot dog guy, his white shirt stained in unflattering spats of red and yellow, I whipped to the next corner and turned right. I stopped short.

The avenue was near empty. There was no sign of the cap.

With my heart pounding in my chest, my hand crunched to a fist at my side and my face wearing a defeated expression… I had lost him.

The paper crinkled. In my pursuit it had turned into a mess of wrinkles and creases. The once pretty note, no longer looked as pristine as it did when it had accidentally fallen out of his backpack and then against my ankle, blown back by the wind.

Do you ever feel alone
even when the whole world
is pressing against your sides?
(The water pressure
pulling you down.)

Why hadn’t I opened my mouth sooner? As soon as the damned thing had touched my skin, why didn’t I open my mouth when you were only a few yards away? Because… as soon as my eyes caught the words on the page I had to finish reading it.

Do you know
how the words you say
no one seems to understand?
(Speaking goldfish
in a tank full of sharks.)

The edges unfurled in my hands, the pen lines running slick with my own sweat and disappointment. The letters, all loose and flowing like water down a stream, trailed into marks on my fingers.

To what end
would you go
to find the answer
you need?
(How far down
into the sea
would you swim?)

This poem wasn’t mine to keep. But nor could I throw it away. That would just seem wrong. If I hadn’t read the whole thing would I have even gone this far to give it back to you? Probably not… but it didn’t matter now.

And what if
when you arrived…

I looked down the avenue once again.

you were still left dumb.

Every new face that appeared around the corners, and hopping out of cars looked the same to me…because none of them were wearing navy blue baseball caps. To no one I muttered, “You didn’t even finish it.”

It was easy to move when there wasn’t a crowd around you, and I got to the concrete wall easily enough but an unsettled feeling tugged at my stomach. After all the trouble, I had come up short. Pulling a pen from my purse I flattened the paper against the building then paused. Then I put the pen down, letting my own curving scrawl drift onto the page.

I don’t now how long I was standing there after I finished, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. After being so focused before, my head felt dazed when I looked up into a pair of navy blue eyes. He gave a nervous smile, and gestured to the paper still flat against my palms.

“Excuse me but…” and he let the sentence hang. But that was probably my fault. Saucer wide, my eyes zeroed in on the cap and I’m sure I must have looked like an idiot but…

“This is yours!” I whipped the paper toward him, quick and self conscious. “Here, thank God. I wanted to give this back. You dropped it.” I took a deep breath and a step back. His eyes roved over the sheet and now I was feeling embarrassed. Maybe best just to go. Another step back, but then my mouth got the better of me. “Sorry, I thought I lost you so I…”

“You finished it.”

To the surface
you’d float
spitting water from your chest.
And think maybe this won’t
turn out for the best.

“Well… I…” Cue the nervous laughter. “You can just cross it out.”

Until the air flows back
into your lungs
and out reaches a hand
to haul you back to solid land.

His eyes scanned the page again and with a quick shake of his head he said, “No. No.” I watched the cap shake side to side, it was too embarrassing to look at his eyes. It had been stupid of me in the first place. It was uncalled for to finish his work, rash to chase after a stranger, and luckless that I had decided to walk home today.

Realizing the answer
wasn’t going to come
when you called.

“It works.” he finished, dumbfounded. Wait, what? Did I hear that correctly? Rewind. His eyes met mine. They were a tad more noticeable, up close, than his hat. “Thanks.”

It needed
to find
you.

“Oh… you’re welcome.”

Snapshot 6/30/19 // S-U-M-M-E-R

Currently listening: “Señorita”– Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello
Currently reading: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
Currently watching: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Currently playing: Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories

I love summer. I love summer. I love summer. The waves brushing against my feet at the beach, the sweetness of catching mint ice cream before it melts, the hours and hours of endless daylight… and the fireworks lighting up the clearest nights. I know I’m a happier person in the summer but maybe I’m just biased because my birthday is coming up. Did I mention I love summer?

This summer I plan on:

  • Taking advantage of as many swimming opportunities as I can (I don’t have a pool but luckily all my friends do!)
  • Getting to the beach as much as I can (so many things have been happening recently that there hasn’t been enough time or energy to get out to the ocean but I’ll be damned if I don’t get to go this week)
  • Finishing the first draft of my WIP (it takes place in the summer and around the beach so now is the perfect time to get it done!)
  • Having fun and going out of my comfort zone (life’s too short to not enjoy it, so this summer I’m going to try to push myself to try some new things)

I’ve been pretty distracted these past few weeks since my last Snapshot piece, a lot of stuff has been going on… almost like a dark cloud has been over my family but I’m praying (and knowing!) July is going to be so much better than June was. I’m almost finished with Descendent of the Crane. Usually I take my time reading so I can savor the story more although this month I have been all over the place busy but I’m loving this book and NEED TO FINISH IT.

Also my TBR pile is steadily increasing… here’s a taste:

And that isn’t even a dent into THAT stack but these are the books that I’ll most likely pick up soon! I’ve been hearing great things about all of them. 🙂 American Gods I have been dying to read since I started the show and SoC I need to reread so I can be fully prepared for all the badassery that is Crooked Kingdom (FINALLY).

As for the writing schedule I’ll still be posting a little Living Life vignette every week, a Snapshot post every month, any poetry that comes to mind as well as any tag posts or anything else I feel the need to write about!

On a sidenote here are some links to some of my posts since the last Snapshot update if you are in need of reading material:

Also here are some great posts I enjoyed reading this month from some amazing bloggers:

Do you have any goals for this summer? I’d love to talk in the comments!

Till next time,


Living Life #10 ( a collection of vignettes)

“Jump”

“I would rather not.” Aly shifted from one foot to the other, and in the process took another step back. The edge was still too close for comfort.

Peter gave a bland smile. His mouth was a straight line across his face except for the slightly tipped corners. If it wasn’t for those the rest of his expression wouldn’t count as a happy look at all. It was the face that he only wore when things were not going his way… yet. Aly took another poignant step back.

“It’s not going to bite.”

Aly raised her eyes from the frigid swamp. “You can’t promise that.”

“I can promise that.” Peter, on the other side, took a step closer so that his toes were dangling off the edge. “Pools don’t bite.”

“Water does.” she huffed, tapping a toe in and pulling it out just as fast. It felt like ice, especially when the pavement under her soles felt like fire. Refreshing ice but freezing nonetheless. Aly swallowed slowly. The water was so clear she could see straight to the bottom except for where her own face stared back up at her. The reflection was frowning. Jerking her head away, she looked to the other end of the pool. The steps seemed much more promising as an entrance.

Peter’s voice was a threat. “Don’t even think about it.”

“It would be a lot easier…” she trailed off.

“But”Peter moved another precarious inch closer so the edge kissed the arches of his heels. “a lot less fun.” He mirrored her across the pool slinging his arms across his chest, and then drawled “What promise did you make to me again?” Damn him.

“It was a mutual promise.” she muttered, knowing she was in the wrong but still trying to procrastinate.

Then he said it, the real problem that she was trying to avoid bringing up.

“We only have one more summer Aly…” There it was. As if dragging out the first trip into the pool in months would prevent him from leaving.

Peter ran a hand through his hair, pushing down the brown waves the humidity had given him. A gesture she had seen him do a million times, and now once more. When he was gone, would she miss that? Would she forget all these little things when he wasn’t there to remind her of them every day? Arching his brows in her direction, Aly realized belatedly he was waiting for her to speak.

“And we promised to spend it together.” She was running out of time. “Having fun.”

“With no regrets.” he finished. “If you can’t even jump into the pool with me, there is no way you are going to survive what I have planned for next week.” He held his hand out.

Aly’s mouth went a bit dry. “Okay.” She stuck her own arm out unquestioningly, mirroring him this time. Being brave enough to jump into the pool first was easy compared to the bravery she would have to have next summer, without her best friend. “I’m ready.” Liar.

“On the count of three grab my hand.” The corners of his mouth touched his eyes. It was his real smile, all teeth and crooked to the side. “One.”

Aly braced her legs and took a deep breath, “Two.”

Then finally together they both shouted, “Three!”

They locked hands.

But in the next breath the water rose to meet them, or rather they fell to meet it and lost their grips. It didn’t bite. Peter had kept that promise, like all the others though the years. Aly had to be sure to keep hers too.

Especially the other she had made to herself.

Gasping for air, she blinked the water from her eyes and found him staring at her. “Task 1 complete.” he laughed, slicking back the hair from his face. She spit pool water at him in response just before he ducked back under.

Aly forced herself to look away. The bottom of the pool was just as clear as before and also, just like before, her reflection was frowning. By summer’s end she would fall out of love with Peter. Just as she promised herself.

The Summer Bucket List Book Tag // All the Summer Vibes

Yay!! It’s my first tag ever since I started my website so I’m super excited! Thank you to Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner for thinking of me for this ❤ and also to the original creator Tiffany @ Read By Tiffany for the great idea and tag graphics! Here we go…

First of all, SUMMER IS HERE! It’s my favorite season for so many reasons, almost too many to name. Here’s to endless daylight, ocean waves and ice cream to our heart’s content during these hot days. Not to mention all the fireworks and BBQ’s and just all around good vibes!

The Rules

  • Link back to the original creator in your post
  • Feel free to use any of the tag graphics in your post, or create your own!
  • Tag 5 other people at the end of your post, and let them know you’ve tagged them.

Whenever summer comes rolling in, know the ocean isn’t too far away. Lady Midnight takes place in California where sun, sand and surfers are everywhere you turn. Even though I wasn’t as fond of the rest of the Dark Artifices trilogy, Lady Midnight still holds a special place in my heart. The old school Hollywood, mystery and revenge vibes surf out a great story. Emma, the main character is badass, and I wish I had a best friend just like Julian. It demands to be read with the water in sight.

I will read anything by Sarah J Maas, and ACOMAF is tops when it comes to romance. The way Feyre and Rhys’s relationship changes throughout the whole story can’t help but keep you entranced. There are definite fireworks all over this book.

I took this one a little metaphorically, and picked what I am currently reading now. Little Women isn’t necessarily about a physical road trip but it’s a journey through life and how Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy grow, change and become who they are meant to be. It’s a fantastic read, and I started it because I wanted to read it before the new movie came out. I understand now why it’s a classic!

This book undid me. I loved Madeline Miller’s spin on the Iliad. The retelling was beautiful, and harrowing and there were just too many feelings associated with this book that I can’t even. If you haven’t read it yet, PLEASE PICK IT UP.

This book. This book. This book! So many twists, so many turns and I haven’t even finished it yet but as soon as I finish this post I will be running right back to it. AHHHHH! The world building is fantastic and believable, and the story and characters keep you guessing.

This one is super cute. It takes place in Italy and there’s gelato which is the Italian version of ICE CREAM <3. Not only is the romance spot on and believable but the reader also gets to experience Tuscany through the main character Lina’s eyes as well. It will make you want to just run and jump on the next plane for the perfect summer vacay.

This book will forever have a special place in my heart. I’ve read it a few times which is a big deal for me because most books I only read once. I don’t know what it is exactly but the whole vibe of the story with the race, the water horses, the threat of danger in such a believable realistic way… and not to mention the November cakes is special. Rereading it recently this past autumn I discovered some things I had missed before. Thisby was a breath of fresh air in my lungs.

This book is not for everyone. It faces the very heavy topic of suicide. Murakami’s writing has a very mellow way of going about it. The story really makes you understand what Toru is experiencing around him after losing one of his closest friends and what happens after. It is a coming of age story with Japan as its backdrop.

I have yet to read this one yet but it’s on my TBR pile and I am very excited!! Food, food, food!! I have some dietary restrictions so I’m looking forward to getting my fill of delicious food through this book!

What book is more inspiring for a writer? I’m savoring this book slowly and taking in all of the experiences that Stephan King shares and knows that each and every writer has had or will have. Rejection, acceptance, thinking is this all going to work out?, safety nets, no safety nets, bad times, good times, and eventually success. 🙂 Which to say, it’s very relatable.

Tags

I tag anyone of you who wants to try it!

Have any of you read the books on my list? What are some books you are looking forward to reading this summer?

Love,

Living Life # 9 (a collection of vignettes)

“Undone”

Something was watching me. My breath caught in the back of my throat and I froze.

It was a nagging feeling, the type that says the oven’s on or the door’s unlocked. Not exactly the concrete creep of a touch to the shoulder but, for the fourth time today, I felt it. I wasn’t alone. 

First weaving through the high grass as I crested the hill, next meandering over the small bridge near the lake, and then sitting on the porch outside my front door. It was there, in all those places. And it was here, right now… this peculiar feeling. The best explanation I could give would be that it felt as if all my personal, private expressions were being noted. How earlier the way my arms had swung like reeds in the wind at my sides, or how my eyes had floated down to the water to catch something sparkling, or even when one of my boots tripped over the other and I tried to walk it off like it never happened. And I had been alone. Supposedly. Until in the next breath after each of those actions I suddenly became undone.

Each and every time, I turned. At the hill all I saw was the swell and buckle of the land beyond, the lake’s water had held still as if trapped in a glass and even though I heard the door creak on the porch it was held firmly shut just as I had left it. This time I determined would be different. It would be futile to turn, so I wouldn’t. Instead I would let whatever it was come to me. 

I released my long held breath and bushed it off as if I hadn’t noticed anything at all. I placed my hands firmly on my hips and looked off to the trees ahead trying to focus. The longer I stared though the more the feeling grew. Maybe I had made a mistake. 

In the tangle of the trees that marked the entrance to the forest, I could spy not a thing out of place. There was no wind so the leaves were still and the clouds above cast the shadows long and deep beyond the trunks. There was not a hint of movement. Trying to focus on anything else I strained to hear the birds but no songs touched my ears. My nails dug a bit deeper into my hips and I tried to tell myself maybe it was going to rain and that’s all the silence was. A calm before the storm. Instead, my heart insisted on not listening to this drivel. It pounded to its own rushed beat that even my own lies couldn’t stop. The truth it hammered again and again was this. There was nothing in the forest… but there was almost certainly something behind me. 

A ghost of a touch breezed by the back of my left thigh. I stayed still. The trees filled my eyes. Look to the trees, look to the trees. But maybe I couldn’t see the forest I was trapped in for those trees. No. Don’t think like that. Choose the high road. That wasn’t real.  

A trace of a tingle across my elbow. Look. No. Don’t. Look to the sky instead and try to tell one cloud from another, even though the imminent rain would make that impossible. 

A curl of breath against my neck. Too warm to be from the lungs of the nonexistent wind. My heart stuttered releasing my own breath from its cage and I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned.

The porch, the lake, the hills against a gray sky were all in sight… and someone was there. But still… they were the only thing I couldn’t see.