A Court of Mist and Fury Review-Spoiler Free

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Stars: 5/5

Synopsis(from Goodreads): Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

This is my second time reading this book and A Court of Thorns and Roses that comes before.

I started to re read this (and the one before it) because I started the 3rd book and realized I couldn’t remember anything about the politics of the courts and what-have-you that I know are going to be important. I barely remembered Ianthe and couldn’t remember what her relationship was with Feyre and Tamlin. So I decided to start over. I was not looking forward to starting over because I didn’t want to have to re-read this book again. I remember feeling the first time like this book was slow and boring and drug out and I was dreading slogging my way through it again.

I don’t know why I felt any of those things. I could not put this book down and even though I knew what was happening with Rhys and Feyre it made my little heart happy as it took shape and I just wanted to hug Rhys constantly.

I will say that SJM LOVES the word”gobbled” in inappropriate settings and it can be very distracting. I swear one day I am going to re read this and count all the “gobbling” that happens. (Like people “gobbling” up views…no. Just…stop it)

And as an adult her sex scenes are somewhat painful to read. More in this book for some reason that in ACOTAR. Maybe because she tries to get more explicit in this book. But the dirty talk hurts my soul. Truly.

Everything else is amazing.

There is no character in the Inner Circle that I don’t completely adore and ultimately hope they all get to see the peace they’ve been struggling for for at least a couple of centuries.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to finish this series and, if the reviews are to be believed, be completely devastated by it.

 

-M-

Trying to Come Back

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I have, as of late, fallen out of writing of any kind. No blogging, no novel writing, I even have fallen out of writing for my school’s English class.  There has been a lot going on, most of it bad.

Some of it good.

I feel like I used to be more passionate. I always had things to write about. People around me would say stupid things and I would be able to blog about it. I would see something that would aggravate me and I could write a blog about it. But I guess I’ve calmed down as I’ve gotten older. Or I have become desensitized to it.

People haven’t stopped saying dumb things and I haven’t stopped being irritated by them. But I no longer have the energy left to blog about them. To write about it at all.

I also used to process…well…everything…through writing. Anger, grief, happiness. And now I don’t. I miss it. I used to write all the time.

My cat died last week. The best cat in the whole world. He never did anything he shouldn’t, he never hurt anyone even when they were hurting him. Sometimes he tried to protect me from people coming to the door or the cat that lives downstairs. He was my best friend in the whole world and probably the closest thing to a soulmate that exists for me. He chose me a long time ago by coming up to my door and refusing to leave until I kept him. And he died. Horribly and in pain and I’ve been completely devastated by it. I’ve tried writing about it for a week and I just can’t find the words. I found out today he may have died completely in vain.  I’ve been angry about his death because I already knew it could have been prevented if my vet would have listened to me about his symptoms two months ago and now I’m even angrier because I was told putting him down was the humane thing to do because he wouldn’t have had a quality of life. Now that may not even be true.

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But I can’t express it in writing.  Not much more than what I wrote above anyway. I don’t have the words.

Which, in and of itself, feels like a terrible loss.  I wrote a story to process my brothers death and countless blogs.

I hope it’s just because I’m out of the habit. So I’m back. I have a little more time on my hands right now. So I’m going to try and write. I have a few ideas and I want to get back into doing reviews. Videos and blogs.

So here we go. If there is something you’d like to see me write about please let me know.

-M-

p.s. In non sad news…I got engaged in April!

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

Title:  A Darker Shade of Magic

Author: V.E. Schwab

Rating 3/5 

Synopsis(from Amazon) 

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king-George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered-and where Kell was raised alongside Rhys Maresh, the rougish heir to a flourishing empire. White London-a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Warning: There will be some spoilers ahead.

 

This book…perplexes me. There are so many elements that are exactly what I want in a book.  Magic, humor, secrets to unfold…The plot moves at a pace that isn’t snail-like in its nature…

But I didn’t love it.

I mean, it’s fine. I will read the next one and probably the one after that. But where I feel I should have felt compelled to keep reading, like when a character dies or when they are in the midst of hitting the novel’s climax…I couldn’t be bothered to keep reading. Where I should have been anxious to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next, I just wasn’t.

I wanted to be. I did want to know what happened next. I just didn’t care when or how I found out.

The bones are there. It was a compelling plot but it wasn’t written compellingly.

At least not for me. I know this book is loved and I can see why. I just didn’t love it. I liked it, and there are enough mysteries and theories I have about Delilah Bard that I will keep reading. But I’m not in a rush to read them immediately. I’ll read them when I read them. I bought the second one but I haven’t decided if it is the next book I’m going to read yet.-

-m-

Outlining-The Intro

Any time I start a new project I have to make the decision whether or not I am going to outline the first draft. Because I hate outlining. I hate it with a fiery passion. I am, what is commonly referred to as a “Pantser” I just write and see where it goes. But, much as I love to do that because it works best for me to keep me writing and help me discover stuff I didn’t know about my characters (and that I don’t discover until I am writing a scene, outline or not) sometimes it means I also hit a wall.

After my last post about losing the voices I was going through documents in my Google Drive and found a story I have tried starting over and over but I’m never happy with how it begins. I have the basic idea where it’s going to go (It’s going to be four books. All revolve around one central character who meets a new secondary character integral to the ending in each individual book)

Where I am mentally right now I could write book 2, 3 and 4. I have a very clear idea of those characters my main character is going to meet, what they are going to teach him and how they are going to do it. I know how to transition between books, I can see the settings in my head (I really want to write book 3’s secondary character)  I even know how the fourth book is going to end.

What I can’t seem to get a handle on is how to get from page 1 to book 2 because the first character he meets is not someone I have as fully flushed out. I feel like he should stay because he is going to take my main character to his second teacher. He is the one who is going to take him out of his small town and teach him about where he came from.

But because I don’t have his ultimate lesson figured out book one has come on sluggishly. I’ve gotten as far as fifty or sixty (maybe more, actually) pages into it and then I went back and started again.

Then I started it again.

Then I started it a fourth time.

So this is where I decide okay: I’m going to Outline. I’m going to break this down, chapter by chapter until I figure out what I need to know so I can write this damn book. (I don’t want to write book 2, 3 or 4 until I write book 1. Book 1 will have major character development and if I skip ahead to where I think my character will be at the beginning of book 2 then I just know I’m going to mess it all up and have to start from scratch again anyway.)

Now I have to figure out the best method of outlining.

Which is what my next several posts will be about.  Different methods of outlining and how they worked for me when I tried to apply them to figuring out this book.

Yay.

Should be lots of fun.

So tell me, how do you outline? What’s your favorite method? Head over to my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EKUauthor and let me know so I can give it a try.

-M-

 

I Miss the Voices

 

I love to write. I love having whole worlds in my head and finding ways to share those world. I have a couple of stories that are in my head but that I haven’t been inspired to write. I haven’t had any new ideas since I finished The Paths We Take.

And that’s really scary for me. I’ve always been afraid that I wouldn’t have the ideas to actually be a writer. That I had one good story and that was it. Then I would finish a book and the next idea would come and I would have the same fear.

But now I haven’t really had anything to write.

It might be because I’ve gotten out of practice. I haven’t journaled in months. I haven’t written blog posts in even longer.  I haven’t written much of anything.

But  I don’t know what to write. I don’t have anything I want to say.

Usually characters talk to me. Even characters I never write with dialogue I never use. But they have been silent lately.

I miss them.

They’ve been constant companions since I was four and I don’t even know when I lost them or how to get them back…

-M-

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention day, ending National Suicide Prevention Week. All day I’ve been trying to think about what to say, feeling I should say something.  Then I was working on school and two things hit me.

1.My brother killed himself in February of 2012. He jumped off of a building. He was a bright light in darkness and he took that light away. Not many people loved to laugh as much as he did and not many people could find a reason to laugh in any situation like Aaron.

My brother is not going to know that I have decided to get a degree in Veterinary medicine. That I found happiness in a small vet clinic in South Reno. He’s never going to read any of my completed books which he always wanted to do. He’s never going to see me as a I am now.

2. In November/December of last year I was very suicidal. To the point that I put a bunch of sleeping pills in my hand and counted them over and over while trying to decide whether or not to take them. I was in the worst, most soul crushing job of my life. I had mounted a bunch of medical debt while not even able to pay my bills every month. I felt trapped and alone. My normally bad depression was at an all time low.

I ultimately didn’t kill myself because I couldn’t force my mom to lose two of her children to suicide. It was small but it was enough to go another day. And then I confided in my best friend and that hurt her and that was enough to get through another day. That’s all I had for a while. Little things to force me to wake up another day.

In January I was interviewed for the vet clinic and started February 1st. That was my turning point.

A turning point I almost never saw. A turning point to finding meaning in my life in working with animals. Finding coworkers I love.  Finding a reason to go back to college and feel like I was moving forward in my life.

Depression sucks. Really sucks. It sucks even more coupled with severe anxiety.  And suicide seems like the best way to go. The only light in an endless tunnel of pitch blackness. But if I had died, then I wouldn’t have found the tiny glint of starlight that led into the open.

I miss my brother. I’ve said before and I will say again: he was my soulmate in the family. The soul who read epic fantasy and listened to heavy rock music. The one with whom I could share art that I found.

He would have loved Terry Pratchett and the Blacklist.

There is so much that he will never see and never experience because he couldn’t find the glimmer to help him keep going.

I’m not going to say that it gets better.

It does but that doesn’t help when you can’t see how it can ever possibly get better.

So all I can say is, if you are depressed and suicidal, find the little things. A smile from a friend, a conversation with a stranger online, a movie coming out you are vaguely interested in.

One day at a time. It’s all you can do.

And if you can’t find that, think of my brother. Think of Aaron. So full of life and love…

Who will never laugh again. Who will never hear the new albums from his favorite bands. He will never see his step children grow up. He will never see what becomes of his siblings or their children.

And if he had managed to hold on one more day…

Who knows?

 

-M-

 

 

My Job Makes Me Feel Amazing…

I have worked in customer service since I was seventeen years old. I work in a tourist attraction vice town so it’s hard to find Monday thru Friday jobs with decent hours that take place in an office. Most jobs around Reno are casinos or such type jobs.

I hate customer service. I don’t have the demeanor for it. If you are an ass to me I will be an ass right back. I do not subscribe to “The Customer Is Always Right” I don’t even subscribe to the theory that the customer is right most of the time. I should not be around people. It’s a pretty awful idea.

But, I don’t have a degree and  I live in Reno. I was pretty sure I was going to work in customer service forever.

My last job was the worst, as you may know if you have read some of my previous posts. It was pure hell for two years. So stressful to the point that I was having seizures, gained a bunch of weight (not related to eating given that my eating habits never changed) and ended up getting kidney infections and occasionally not being strong enough to walk. I spent six months on and off bed rest.

So when my boyfriend told me about a receptionist position for a veterinary clinic I thought”What the hell.” I never figured I would get hired but I really needed a new job.

Well…lo and behold, I got hired. And I act as way more than a receptionist. Turns out I’m more of an assistant. I get to do pharmacy orders, lab work, x-rays and I’m learning to monitor a patient during surgery.

Already that’s amazing but I get to work with animals all day. It’s low stress. Today was back to back and I think I saw 15 clients and no surgery today. I get to love on cats and dogs all day. I’m super awkward addressing people but if I address their pets they are totally okay with that and will answer me for them so I still get all the information I need with a minimum of human interaction.

Perfect.

But, the epitome of how great my job is came in the form of an emergency surgery we had last week.

There was a black lab/great dane mix, Timber who had been out hiking with his owner. He had tried to follow his husky brother, Odin the husky, over a log and not quite cleared it. A jagged branch went through his leg and tore it open almost down to the bone. His owners were able to get help loading him into their car (he is a 110 pound dog) and drove down the road where they found my vet hospital.

They pulled up, covered in dirt and blood and panicking . The owner thought that Timber was going to die or lose his leg. She was very upset.

As soon as they pulled up my staff got to work. We got a gurney out to their car, brought them inside. My vet staunched the bleeding while evaluating the damage. He had torn it open from his shoulder which could be a problem because of the way the shoulder moves so he would have to suture several layers to make sure they didn’t get torn or infected and then put Timber in a sling (a sling that lasted 48 hours by the way. And only that long because he was drugged up for that time) Besides his shoulder, no major veins were hit and his leg could be repaired. After the shoulder was evaluated, Timber was wheeled into emergency surgery where my vet and another assistant operated.

While helping Timber, I also got a chance to help the owners. I calmed them down. I let them know step by step what we were doing, what was going to happen next and what they could expect. When they came in, the owner was crying and could barely speak. By the time I left she was smiling. She wasn’t happy, mind you. Still stressed. But hopeful. They knew they were in good hands, they knew that Timber was going to be fine.

Timber’s recovery has been going great. His surgery was last week and I’ve seen him three times since then to make sure that the sutures are staying, his leg is draining the way it should etc…and he’s doing amazing. He’s not even walking with a limp. Though he has gained about 9 pounds because he’s been guilting his owners into giving him treats by pouting in his cone of shame.

I’ve worked in customer service for nearly ten years and I’ve never felt like I really truly helped anyone until that day.

 

-M-

 

Trying to Get Back Into the Swing of Things

I find it very difficult to write when I’m happy. I can’t write anything. Journals, blog posts, fiction. It’s terrible. I need to find a way around it. Probably just discipline I need to develop.

Usually, I use writing as an outlet. I don’t vent to people too much. Years of my family and boyfriends with severe narcissism has made sure that, when I reach a certain level of frustrated, I shut down because I know that no one wants to hear me bitch. And even those who will listen, I find, often then drift off or stop listening or just can’t find it in them to care if it isn’t effecting them. I suppose that’s human nature.

I’m sure that’s not always true but it is so ingrained in my personality that what I do is stop talking, grab a notebook or the stylus on my Note 5 or my laptop and I write and write and write all the things that I can’t say out loud.

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My sweet baby Lily

But things have been going very well for me the past two months.

After a year of stress, health problems, not being able to pay bills, hating every single day of my life, things are better. I got a job as a Veterinary Assistant. I get to hang out with animals all day and I’m working in a high income area so it’s rare I have people complaining about the price of care. Most of the time they hand me their card and they don’t even care what it cost as long as we helped their animal. And we do. I spend my day getting to help animals. I love it. I would never find helping humans this fulfilling because humans are terrible. Animals are sweet. I’m learning a ton. I get to do lab work, x-rays, fill prescriptions and I am going to be trained to assist in surgery.

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I’ve started collecting POP vinyl figures. I was super stoked to find this 1966 Batman and Batmobile on sale Amazon for $11.00 when it usually runs $30.00+

On top of having a tremendously fulfilling job filled with people I enjoy, I make enough to pay my bills again and even have quite a bit of extra money left.  Steve and I are going to sushi this week. 3 weeks in a row after nearly a year of not being able to afford to go at all. I feel like I can exhale for the first time in a long time. Like maybe my hope at the beginning of January that 2016 would be better may actually come true.

This weekend Steve and I are going to go look for a house to rent because with his new job and my new job we can afford a bigger place and I need more animals.  We are going to get a house and then I am going to get a husky from a local rescue and he is going to get a chihuahua.  I may also get another cat.

Because Animals.

I work very early mornings to early-mid afternoon every day so I have a few hours at home alone. I’m not mentally and spiritually exhausted after work anymore so I think I have to dedicate time to sitting down and writing for a few hours every day. Develop the habit again.

 

-M-

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Part of a set of family photos we took for my mom for Mother’s day last year. Photo by KUCreative

How Cleaning My Room Helped Ease My Depression

IMG_6805 I have been deep deep in the throws of depression lately. Barely able to move or breathe, wondering if there was any point to moving or breathing. I haven’t gotten out of bed much in the last week. Even with Christmas around-usually my favorite time of year-there just hasn’t been much to celebrate. I didn’t even bother decorating this year. Every Christmasy thing I did this year basically felt like I was going through the motions because I knew that I should.

I haven’t even been reading much. I feel bad that I haven’t been reading much but I haven’t.  Even doing that effortless thing that makes me happy has just felt like too much lately.

Yesterday I didn’t go to work. I should have. I need the money with all of my medical expenses climbing through the roof and me unable to pay my rent this month. But I couldn’t drag myself out of bed.

I stayed in bed most of the day. I played games on my phone and slept. Tried to not think about how much I really should have gone to work while also relieved that I didn’t. Yesterday would have been Hell at work because of the holidays.

Late in the afternoon, my boyfriend-who recently lost his job-left the apartment to go apply for a job he found that he wanted to apply for in person. He asked me to vacuum while he was gone.

 

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I haven’t cleaned much lately. I love having a clean apartment. I feel really stressed when the apartment is dirty but, just like everything else, I just haven’t been able to make myself do it lately. But he had shaved his head and there was hair all over the floor. So I vacuumed. But I wanted to put down carpet powder first and that takes a few minutes to saturate. So, while I waited for it to permeate the carpet I started cleaning my room which I had not cleaned in a year.

It started out doing little things. I was only going to clean the side of my bed because there hasn’t been a walkway there in months so I was always tripping over trash and clothes and whatnot. Then it grew and grew and soon-with a small break to vacuum the rest of the apartment-my room was spotless. I cleaned out my bedside drawers. Took out about eight Walmart bags full of trash, dusted, cleaned out under my bed, vacuumed, found clothes that I had been wondering where they had gone, unpacked a box that has been sitting in my room since moving here which gave me room to put my clothes hamper so its not in the middle of the floor, hung up my Oblivion map, hung up my calendar, made my bed and when all was said and done I felt better.

I need to do the rest of my apartment. I’m going to do it in stages over the next couple of days. Probably my bathroom sink today, my living room tomorrow and my library the day after that.

I still feel heavy. I have a knot in my chest and stomach that won’t go away and a huge part of me just feels like everything I do is just going through the motions because I don’t have a choice.  But waking up this morning and not having to hopscotch across my floor made me inexplicably happy.

Sometimes all you have is the little things, I guess. And sometimes that’s enough.

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#Project Semi Colon

 

 

2016 Here I Come

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2015 has been a rough year. 2014 ended with my long time, love of my life boyfriend leaving me for someone else. 2015 didn’t start any better. Within a couple of months I developed health problems which kept me (and continue to keep me, though to a lesser extent) from working. Which means that I have been living paycheck to paycheck and not always able to pay all my bills. I was put on a medication that, when not destroying internal organs, made me gain a ton of weight I haven’t been able to lose yet and I’ve always been self conscious about how I look but I’ve never hated how I look quite so much as I do now.

Seriously. I sit in front of my full length mirror and cry because I know I used to pretty-ish and I used to be skinny. Objectively I know that I am more than my weight and more than what I look like but that’s not much comfort when I look in the mirror.

So I am not sad to see 2015 go. I will celebrate it’s end. I know that nobody wakes up on January  1st different than they were the night before, but new beginnings matter. Yes, you can have a new beginning on a Tuesday in the middle of the month-it’s just a mindset. But, for a lot of people, January 1st triggers that mindset. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

That being said I have some small goals for 2016. Nothing extreme. Things I am already working towards that I just want to renew my passion for. Some things I hope that saying out loud and sharing them with people will help me with.

 

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1. Find something that fulfills me.

This is both an easy and a difficult task. I find that it’s hard for me to make time for things I really like an am passionate about if they require a lot of work. It’s a lazy, destructive mindset and it’s one I am working on changing. I don’t know what that extra hobby that is going to fulfill me will be yet. I want to be creative of some sort but I lack skill in most areas. Maybe I will find a class to take that will teach me something I want to learn or sign up for an online course. I find that my depression is somewhat abated when I am learning new things but typing “learn something new” into Google isn’t all that effective. I downloaded an app that was recommended on a Reddit thread that is pretty effective at teaching you a language (more reading than speaking)  so that’s a start. I just need to find a crafts hobby that can fulfill the creative side of me that I might be able to be good at.

Maybe I’ll start making candles or something…

2. Find a job that I don’t hate going to.

I know that unless you have your dream career very few people like getting up in the morning for their jobs. I’m not looking-at this point-for a job of my dreams. I just want a job that I don’t feel is taking my soul to go to. One that I don’t find it so hard to get up for. I haven’t liked a lot of my previous jobs but I have never been so stressed it made me sick or felt so okay about not going in to a job before. Before my current job I never called in sick. Ever. But I was never as sick as I have been since starting here. I need a change. Badly.

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3. Read more.

I’ve been in a bad reading slump for this year. Like I said, it’s been rough and, as much as I love reading, with how depressed I’ve been it’s been hard for me to focus on a book for very long.It’s much easier to lay on the couch and stare at the T.V. than to read.  This is the first time in years I have read as few books as I have this year. It’s actually embarrassing for me. I have a plan, though. For 2016 I am participating in Pop Sugar’s Reading Challenge (you can find it here) I am doing the 2015 one because I liked it better than their new 2016 one.  I printed out a copy and stapled it to pages I printed out where I can write down all of the books I’ve read for the year. They’re set up like this:

January

_______________ by____________ finished on __________

I can write down the details of the book after checking them off on my list. One thing I learned from NaNoWriMo is the satisfaction of doing updates like that. Of working towards a goal and knowing how long it would take me to get there if I wrote such and such words per day. I’m trying to adopt that into other facets of my life where I want improvement like reading, writing the rest of the year and exercise.

 

Most of my goals-which can be broken down beyond the above categories-just go to feeling better about myself and my life. I want to stop feeling useless and stupid and lazy.

My depression and anxiety will not be abated by  these small changes I know but, I’ve noticed, when I am doing things like the above-things that make me a better person in my own eyes, my depression has a harder time getting a debilitating hold on me for very long.

So those are some of the things I will be working on as we end this awful year and start on a new one.

Here’s to new beginnings.

-M-

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