Snapshot 8/31/19 // Praying For Summer to Never End

Currently listening: “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince“- Taylor Swift
Currently reading: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Currently watching: The Office S2
Currently playing: Pokemon Masters

If I could live in perpetual summer, I would. Don’t get me wrong fall is wonderful because everything is pumpkin, winter is nice because of cozy fires and hot chocolate, and spring brings with it all. the. flowers. but it also brings the impending arrival of summer once again. Some people can’t stand the heat but as someone who is endlessly cold I live for it. Not to mention the long hours of daylight, the trips to the beach, and the sweet thirst quenching lick of mint chocolate chip ice cream as it runs down a waffle cone…. dang now I need some ice cream.

My goals for this summer were to go swimming whenever the opportunity arose, get to the beach, finish the first draft of my WIP, and get out of my comfort zone and have some fun. So let’s recap:

  • Unfortunately I only got to go swimming twice this summer. Omg that is so pathetic. The weather wasn’t always on my side though when the opportunity arose so I’m not going to beat myself up too much on this one. And honestly, September is still warm so…. all hope is not lost for one more swim.
  • I DID GET TO THE BEACH, YES, THANK YOU, CHECK.
  • My first draft is coming along. It is nowhere near finished but it is moving in the right direction. The world and the characters are becoming clearer whereas before they were just quietly humming in the background and now they are starTING TO YELL. That’s when I start to get excited and when I get excited that means the story is getting ready to spill out *crossing my fingers*
  • August was fun, a lot of fun. I met a lot of new people and actually held a lot of nice conversations with said new people. That is way out of my comfort zone since I’m usually shy and quiet. So this last goal is a major check.

Going into September these are my new goals:

  • Keep working on my WIP, however long it takes, I’m just going to keep swimming. Hopefully, but no promises, I’ll have some snippets or info to share by the end of September.
  • Focus back on my Living Life vignettes. I got very distracted in August, and not going to lie, I might have been a little lazy. In my defense though it was my birthday month so I’m going to cut myself a break. Heading into September, I’m going to try to get at least two out. They are certainly not going to be weekly anymore though because I’m trying to aim for quality over quantity.

I’m keeping it nice and simple this month. That way I don’t overwork or stress myself out. And I still have some time left to lament over my precious summer…

Because before too long, I’ll be all…

And I’m not ready for that yet, lol.

What I Read:

Steadily, just like in July, I finished three books in August. Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman was the first. I loved this book. Tragic and beautiful and real and raw and so many feelings all in one. A beautiful book with the beautiful setting of Hawaii and Mr. Watanabe and Kai and a beautiful sister relationship woven throughout in flashbacks and mother daughter struggles and asexuality and learning its okay if you don’t know. ITS OKAY NOT TO KNOW. It’s okay if you don’t know where you’re headed in life. IT IS ALL OKAY. Some relationships are forever till the end of time and sometimes people come into your life to teach you something or help you work through something and you know you might not ever see them again but you will always remember them. All of that… in one beautiful book. How many times did I say beautiful?

Then it was To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. I adored this book too. Omg I love Elian and his piracy and his connection to the ocean and his goodness and his loyalty to his crew with Madrid and Kye and Torik. And Lira and her strength and confidence and her sense of duty and then when everything comes together at the end and the whole little mermaid retelling!!! It was great. I loved it and I loved it and I loved it. Descriptions are fantastic but I would love to see more of the world there seems like so much more to explore here with these 101 kingdoms.

My last was The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and omg this book was too real. It was fantastically written and very understandably a classic. The depiction of mental illness that Esther, the main character experiences, is eye opening and the story really gets you inside her head. You really understand why she makes the choices she does and even though it is a bit slow at times as a whole the pacing works for the novel.

I just picked up Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson to reread for the second time. It’s been a few years since the first read and since I’m a mood reader I’m gonna read it again because I feel like it, ya know?

What I’ll Be Writing:

Be on the lookout for at least two Living Life vignettes this month, any poetry that hits me like a bolt of lightning randomly, any book tags that I’m tagged to do or that strike my fancy and of course my ever steady monthly Snapshot post.

Here are some (like two) links to my (minimal) posts from this month (because I was lazy and having fun with my friends omg lol, focus Jai):

Then here are some fantastic reads from other bloggers (who have their life together, unlike me) I enjoyed this month:

How were all of your summers? Did you meet your goals? I’d love to talk in the comments!

Till next time,

Living Life #14 “Cicada”

(a collection of independent vignettes)

The forest was alive.

I could tell from the ground. Solid and unyielding, it was the only thing keeping me standing. Like two lead pencils, I felt like my legs were inching instead of walking. Each heavy step I took seemed to echo and reverberate back to the core of the Earth. The dirt was marking my path, I only hoped they weren’t paying too much attention.

I could tell from the roots. Thick and strong, worn with time but all the more wise for it. Nearly tripping over one, I braced myself against the tree and took a breath. Keeping my head down, my eyes drank in the sight. Wrinkles, like memories, etched into their bark as deep as trenches, hiding secrets that were waiting for someone to come and figure them out. They looked like hands reaching down to grab that which I didn’t know. But something worth while. I wanted to stay here, I wanted to figure out their truth. They were the reason I had come at all.

But I had been rash, and overlooked something. Something important.

I could tell from the air. It was breathing. The wind inhaling with slow, gentle breezes letting the leaves, as green and vibrant as life, take the exhale. I was alone. That was the lie they were telling me. And the worst part was I wanted to believe them. But that would make us both liars.

And it would make only me the naive one. It was a word my mother had called me too many times. In hindsight, I guessed she was right. About that, and something else.

Don’t go into the forest.

I smiled, but there was no happiness in it. Everything was quiet. And then all of a sudden, everything went loud. They found me.

Three shadows had come up behind me. In all of my struggle to get away from them I didn’t have much energy left. I had been running for five hours straight. Any normal human being, especially a girl who looked more like a flower than a tree, shouldn’t stand a chance against the watchers of the forest. The hulking ones I had thought only existed in legend.

In the hard way I guessed I had learned of one of the forests secrets. But the revelation was more bitter than sweet.

At least now there were only three human sized ones left. The first of the five had drowned when I ran behind the waterfall. The second had gotten impaled on that sharp, low lying branch a mile back. Black carapaces that upon closer inspection looked like armor instead flesh, spread knife tipped wings blocking the way I had come, and beady black eyes that never changed focus. My mother was right the deeper you travel, the scarier the forest becomes. These insects looked like they had come straight from the Jurassic period. No wonder she had kept me inside for all those years.

On the other side of these bugs there was me and, locked into my grip, my small hunting knife.

“Fine. If that’s how you want to do it.”

The forest was alive. And right now, so was I.

That was the way it was going to stay.

NetGalley Book Tag! // (Or Rather a Modified Tag Because I Don’t Actually Have a NetGalley Account Lol)

August made me a little lazy, so I’m a little late doing this tag but better late than never! The lovely Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner tagged me for this one (thanks Sophie!), and even though I don’t have a NetGalley account I’m not going to miss the opportunity to have fun with this so I’ll be taking a little liberty with the questions here if you’ll bare with me ;).

The Rules:

  • Link back to the tag’s creator (Kourtni Reads)
  • Thank and link back to the person who tagged you
  • Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
  • Tag a few people to do this too

Auto-Approved: Who’s one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they’re about?

I’m pretty sure I have mentioned my love of Leigh Bardugo multiple times already, so what is once more? BRING ON NINTH HOUSE.

Request: What makes you want to request a book that you see on NetGalley?

In general what makes me pick up a book and chose to read it? Definitely the premise must sound intriguing to me. Something fresh, something new, something that might have to do with adventure, romance, fantasy or YA if we’re getting into specifics of what I lean towards. But… I’m pretty open to reading anything and everything. There is something to learn in every book.

Feedback Ratio: Do you review every book you read? If not, how do you decide what books to review?

I definitely don’t review every book I read. Honestly, it has to be a book that I would shout from the high heavens YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK to all the people down below. The only books that would fall into that category are stories I know I could read over and over. And over. And then over again. Those special books, ya know? The ones that know the map of your heart and soul. (*cough, cough*) The Book Thief (*cough, cough*)

Badges: If you could create your own badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?

HA HA! Let’s see… Notoriously Slow Reader or Reader of Too Many Books At Once or At Least She Tries Very Hard.

Wish For It: What’s one book that you are absolutely dying to read?

Besides Ninth House, hands down Erin Morgenstern’s A Starless Sea. Take me away…..

Tag:

I tag anyone who wants to try it! ❤

Who is your favorite author that (beyond all doubt) you will read every book they write? What are some books you’re looking forward to reading?

Lots of love,

Snapshot 7/31/19 // The Dog Days Are Here

Currently listening: “Back to December” – Taylor Swift
Currently reading: Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman, To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Currently watching: Supernatural S2
Currently playing: Rune Factory 4

Great news guys…. it’s still summer! This is my favorite season and August is a whole another beautiful month to enjoy, and it also happens to be my birthday month! I’m loving every second of this season, but I might be biased. 🙂

So last Snapshot update my goals for the summer were going swimming as much as possible, getting to the beach, finishing the first draft of my WIP, and going out of my comfort zone and having some fun. So let’s get these bullet points hashed out.

  • Honestly I have not gone swimming once this summer yet BUT tonight I am actually going to hang out with some friends and go night swimming! So better late than never lol
  • I HAVE gotten to the beach a lot which is a win! I even have a tan, sort of. I’m less pale than usual, let’s just say
  • My WIP is coming along, slowly. Very slowly, but it’s coming. This story has been plaguing my mind for years and it loves to tease me very slowly. There is no doubt I’m finishing this draft this year, because I’m determined no matter how long it takes for this story to reveal itself to me. Which I get, you can’t rush something that’s shy and is taking it’s time to get to know and trust you. I just wish it would move a little faster, but at least its moving
  • This last one is the real barn burner. Yes, I have definitely had a lot of fun in July. My new job has been great so far, and I’m making a lot of friends which of course leads to me being awkward but luckily it’s an endearing awkward and not uncomfortable awkward. Ya know? And I’m going pretty much out of my comfort zone which before I had rarely done. It’s exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. So highly recommended.

Heading into August I’m going to keep up the momentum with these goals!

In other news, this month I finished three books, which is great for me. Descendant of the Crane, Summer of Salt and Little Women. Descendant of the Crane was very well written with all the political intrigue. The twists and turns were a little fast paced for me at times but kept me entertained till the end . Summer of Salt was a nice, mellow summer read that still handled some really tough topics. The book sucks you in to the little island of By-The-Sea where it takes place and you get attached to the characters and setting that you feel like you’re actually there. In the book there is a graveyard where it is perpetually autumn. That is such a MOOD. Little Women was the one I most recently finished and now I get why it’s a classic. Honestly. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. For having being written in the 1800’s it is surprisingly relatable. That is probably why it is a classic lol.

Right now I’m very much enjoying Summer Bird Blue, it’s the type of book you want to savor slowly and it is the perfect book to read in the summer. To Kill a Kingdom I legit just started yesterday and so far the writing is very lyrical. I know this one had some mixed reviews, and I’m only four chapters in, but honestly the phrasing and words the author uses to describe everything so far really is beautiful. The Bell Jar kind of snuck up on me. I wasn’t planning on reading it yet but… I don’t really know. It just sort of called to me, and I answered it. Now I’m hooked. I’m about a third of the way through and I’m really curious to see how the story goes.

As for the writing schedule I am making a change to how often I post the Living Life vignettes. Right now I’m in a bit of a writer’s block slump with them so they are going to be coming out less regularly now and more so when inspiration strikes. That way I can give the best I got. I’ll still be posting poems and tags in the in between though so no worries! And of course my monthly Snapshot!

Here are some links to my posts from the last month:

Then if you are still hungry for more here are some of my favorite posts from some fantastic bloggers out there:

How are your summer goals going? Has anyone been reading any great summer reads? I’d love to talk in the comments below!

Till next time,

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.”