Stephen King Is Amazing, My Butt Cheeks Hurt & What About Woman No. 17…

So my birthday just happened last week. Yay!! to another year closer to geezer status. Not thrilled about that. Content I survived thus far though. I can’t complain…but I still do. I’m a fairly joyful little curmudgeon…if that makes any sense to anyone. Bouts of complaining..moments of light cheer..a bit corny…depressed and lazy…genuinely wanting to do good, be good, think the good in others….all while wearing the worst little sour puss face possible. Eh, it’s who I be and hopefully I get to be it for yet another year.Screenshot_385

So yeah….my birthday happened. My daughter asked me what I wanted from her. Straight A’s and a clean room??  Yeah okay so she asked what I wanted that could be bought in a store…something more attainable obviously.  “A good old fashion scare” I said. You know the kind……the one that makes you afraid to be in the house alone. The one that makes you shit your pants when you get startled by an unfamiliar noise. That kind. Most of my scares as an adult have been in the form of threatening bill collectors and kids getting sick. Most of my scares have been about our debts and real life stuff. I want one that comes from books…the kind you get when you are naive and innocent and stupid and just a kid. That kind exactly!!

With that said, I’ve been on a great reading streak. Life has been handing me some fantastic and not so fantastic curveballs…and usually when that happens I slow done with the reading. It’s so hard to read when you have a lot on your mind. However that has not been the case lately. I have been reading fiercely no matter the situation. I recently had to review a book that was sent to me by a publisher and that book really is the driving force to my need for all things fanfuckingtastically scary. Non-fiction, true crime, a kid gets killed by some crazed lunatic. All parents worst nightmares materialized into a novel. It was insane…scary as all hell, and had me really fearful of the idea that those certain lunatics share the same planet as I do. That book, The Fact Of A Body, was intense. Sad, scary, and intense. Two crimes…two different victims…two different outcomes…both tragic in their own way. And here’s the thing…if you know me…you know that I live for true crime. The more gruesome, mysterious and terrifying the better. I google research, I seek out crime scene photos…I’m even a damn member for Web Sleuthing sites. I can sit for hours and hours on my laptop investigating this stuff. It’s macabre…it’s strange…it’s what I do. I am always on the hunt for something chilling and dark. I live for the thrill of being in that kind of fear. Get me to drive a car, ride a roller coaster, get a job….whole other level of fear that I can’t do. Show me the crime scene photos of Jeffery Dahmer while we sit by my huge living room window in the dark…I’m all in.

So yeah…I read a great book…and then I wanted more. I wanted to test the waters of scary fiction. I tried a few books…did nothing for me. Didn’t want to give up without giving the wonderful Stephen King a chance. I have a steady collection of his work but of course leave it to me to want to get my hands on something that I don’t already own and my daughter offered to get…I wanted “It”.  I had been checking out some booktube reviews…and from what I gathered “It” would be the book that would provide such a scare. Many vloggers placed it as their number 1 or at least in their top 10. I received my book….a tome if there ever was one. Over 1,150 pages….massive…intimidating….and all mine for the enjoying.IMG_0935

It’s safe to assume, a week later, I am still reading the book. About 400 pages in. Lots of character building, history of the town, the lead ups to the main horrors….but no actual horrors so far. I think I read too much true crime. Nothing has jumped out at me yet. Okay, well, maybe yesterday night I did feel a little creeped at the sight of my cat that kept staring obsessively up at our sunroof for almost an hour and would not stop no matter how much I called him. And maybe it didn’t help that the wind was blowing a little hard and I could see the leaves swaying through the curtains as I sat right beside the window. Maybe I have felt a little unsettled walking into my garage for late night clothes washing. I’ll give the King that. And besides I do have about 700 pages of more story to get into. Surely there is more to this tale. I have faith in Mr. Stephen King. If you have not read a book by him…you need to get up off your ass and go right now and get him. And he doesn’t do just horror….he has delved into many genres. Even if an entire novel is not your style…he has quite the collection of short stories. I wouldn’t say he is the best. He is not my most fave…he is more my most familiar. He is unique in that I see his work…I want to give it a try. He is a collectors item kind of writer. He is familiar and yet mysterious. He is over the top and yet right up my alley. He’s not to be described…he’s to be read and experienced.

So yeah there’s that. And then there’s my aching body. I’ve been reading far too much….which means I’ve been snacking far too much…which means I’ve been drinking them high calorie, high priced coffee drinks even further on the too damn much scale and I’m reaaaally starting to notice it when I look at myself in the mirror. I am an emotional eater. I put on weight. A vicious cycle. I gain it…I lose some of it..I gain it right back. On a mission to get back in shape after allowing my body to turn gelatinous on my comfy reading sofa…I decided to kick start my weight loss journey with some intense cardio. Yeah…I did not ease into it. I went hard…hardish. I don’t know what of the 10 moves I did or possibly it was the combination of several but my butt cheeks hurt as all hell. More than any other part of my body, the butt cheeks, SORE AF!! So sore. And go figure…it would happen to someone like me that one particular butt cheek hurts more than the other cause, ya know, I never really do anything right in life…why should working out be one of them. How in the hell do I manage one sore butt cheek??!! And what am I suppose to do now?? Neglect the sore one…focus on the other in the next workout??!!

Ah, yeah…..irrelevant babbling just to fill up blog space…aren’t you glad you subscribed to me.

I suppose I should mention the other reading journey I went on before I dived right into King’s stuff. Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki. Talk about racy, on the edge contemporary reading. This is not your standard Jodi Picoult chick-lit, that’s for sure. This story has bite. I don’t need too much over done eroticism…and I seriously could care less if the woman falls for a hunker of a man…but if she does…okay…just don’t make it cheesy.

IMG_0942We are high up in the plush Hollywood Hills with writer Lady Daniels. Lady is looking to find a good nanny for her son because she’s got a memoir to write…and as we all know, kids are assholes and don’t let moms finish anything. Yeah…so Lady hires a woman called S. No not a typo. A woman called S. You know…I get Seal, Madonna, I even understand Prince and his whole strange symbol days….but “S”??!! Come on now. You guessed it (or maybe you didn’t) S is an artist type…and they do strange shit…like call themselves letters from the alphabet. S is going to watch Devin..the kid..and also the teenager, Seth, that doesn’t speak a word of anything. Nothing wrong with him…he is just a teenager I suppose.

Talk about mystery…the whole book gets weird…or rather I just feel weird about it. There’s a series of red flags…like, Lady not really checking S’s references before hiring her because obviously Lady doesn’t give two shits about her kids and who watches them. S is someone that all of a sudden wants to change her life..and that changing involved looking after other peoples children..cause you know, that’s so rewarding. But no matter the strangeness of all that these two women come together. They bond. S becomes a valued member of their little circle…and all is well. There’s def some secrets…but all is well….at first.

This story gets moving…and when it does it doesn’t stop. It goes in all different directions and I don’t know if that was a good thing or bad thing for me. It certainly wasn’t your typical summer read and I’m good with that. I didn’t want a typical summer read. So it not being a Summer read made for a better reading experience. But it has a lot of unanswered questions about her choice of decisions..and I am not sure it would have been better if Lepucki just tied up some of those loose ends that kept nagging at me. I did like the women bonding…I liked how it read…women with bad mothers…move on to make their own bad parenting decisions unintentionally…women struggling but trying and coping with life. Very symbolic to women literature but it’s also relatable. Some of us can’t get enough of that especially if we ourselves go through a lot of angst in our lives, bad experiences, dark pasts, regrets, and struggles. Sometimes we want to read something that we can look at and think…Okay, my life is not so far fetched. I mean it’s fiction…but so are songs and we all feel connections to songs. Same could be said with books…connections.

But then the real drama happens. The far fetched stuff….and it gets interesting…fun even. The whole artist vibe…I mean that’s not for the everyday people…but we don’t always want to read something that depicts an everyday life. We want the everyday life that becomes something grand…something more…something ‘Worldly’. Here’s where the mystery description comes into play. This is not Agatha Christie. It’s not that kind of mystery. We aren’t on an adventure to solve anything really. Mystery in that it is uniquely taking us on a reckless journey…bad decisions and what the outcome could be. Relationships and the adventure that those can sometimes put us on. I’ve read this many times described as a “noir” and I can see that vibe. A little safer…but still that vibe. It’s a self-sabotaging journey….you root for the main character…you root for the women…you want to see the good outcome from the bad decisions. I don’t know if that makes sense. I guess you have to be a single mother to understand that(which I am not…but know many). It’s about motherhood…when motherhood wants to be more than motherhood and step out of it’s motherhood zone every now and then.

I know I mentioned before that this is not a summer read. Scratch that….it’s most def a great summer read. What I actually meant was it’s not that cheesy, summer symbolic, women kicking it in Nantucket getting tans and fantasizing about the pool boy kind of summer read. It’s more like that story’s edgy little rebellious sister.

Did I enjoy this book? I cringed through some of it. I felt there was some loose ends but overall it was fun…it was interesting..it’s worthy of a read.

Can buy anywhere books are sold.

Peace, love, and happy readings!!

 

Thanks as always to the wonderful peeps over at BloggingForBooks for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and honestly gave.

A Warm Blanket, A Snack, Unwanted Poundage, And Some Time On My Hands For A Book Review..

Summer Vacay is here for the kiddies. Actually, it’s been here. We are onto week two of it technically. So far so……bland. But bland is good. I like bland. Bland is waking up at 11 in the early afternoon. Bland is eating whatever for lunch. Bland is not showering if I don’t want to. Bland is every night is movie night. Bland is also going to make me gain weight though. Yeeee..ah. My body relied on the two trips it took me to take my boys to school and the walking back…then the going to get them..and walking back. My body relied on the extreme heat and all the damn sweat. My body relied on the inclines and declines of the trek. My body relied on the times I dared myself to run all the way back home. My body relied on when the boys didn’t want to hold their heavy backpacks so mommy had to. My body relied on that little bit of exercise and sunshine. All the good stuff that I was “forced” to do to keep my ‘happy juices’ flowing…and my body a few pounds lighter.

Now I’m home…the sweet comfortable comforts of my cozy and dark little home…with my babies. I relish the time. I really do. Some parents can’t wait for their kiddies to be in school…I wait all year for the time when they are home for the summer. We are like jungle people. We live for the routine-less days. We stew in our filth and we enjoy the hanging out, the lazy sofa lounging afternoons, the endless book reading, the messy activities. We thrive on jumping and screaming and nap times and late nights and no visitors and no commitments. What is people? What is an agenda?? Oh the sweet flow of Summer!!

But as I mentioned…this lazy little life is starting to get me fat…..fatter. Having already gained 15 pounds in the past 6 months…I am not happy about gaining any more. I am not happy that my comfy clothes are turning into constricted clothes. I am not happy that I huff and puff to climb my own stairs. My comfort is getting a bit uncomfortable around my midsection. I have to get back to running…cardio…anything!! I have been great with my reading time…I need to be greater with my fitness time. And not just me…my kids. I don’t want them to be unhealthy and develop my terrible lazy ways. We are such homebodies and although that’s great…it’s not always good.

So the hubby and I have some activities lined up…swimming and park time for starters…and starting this week. Of course…all I thought was, “I can take a book along with me while they swim…I can read a few chapters while they play on the monkey bars, right??” WRONG!! If I’m going to get back in shape I have to participate. That’s the plan anyway…remains to be seen if I actually do it. But I mean for real though…no matter what, I’ll either get mental exercise or body exercise and even if it is still mental exercise thanks to the continued book reading at least it’s something..something good. Aaaaahaha. Yeah, spoken like a true lazy ass.

In the meantime..and once again, I’m stewing right now. I’m sitting in my lovely comfy chair..I’m covered in my warmest blanket, I’m drinking my favorite drink and I’m munching on a snack or two. The kiddies are actually asleep right now thanks to the husband, and I’m enjoying the silence. Surrounded by my books…motivated me to work on a review. Excited about finishing so I can dive right back into another book that I am happily engaged in(book review for that one coming soon). The stress of bills and life and weight gain can wait until tomorrow, maybe.

Contemporary fiction with a bit of romance. That’s what I started my summer with. A book not for the faint of heart. White Fur by Jardine Libaire. Intensely rich, gritty, emotionally charged book. I did not expect any of it…and I’m glad of that.

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Hands down one of the best covers I own.

Let’s get into the main stuff you need to know…and hopefully I can do it without giving anything away because I freakin’ hate spoilers…and would hate to be the one to ruin a review with one. Okay so we are in the 80’s and everything the 80’s was at that time. New York and everything it was at the time. Then there’s Elise Perez….and she meets Jamie Hyde. BAM!! Intensity ensues. Why?? Because nothing is ever easy when two people from two very different worlds come together and develop an insane and very real feeling towards each other. Issues come into play. As readers we see lives unfold, feelings felt, hearts warmed and also ripped apart, serious social topics play out before us. There’s something very familiar about the story….as is most romantic reads…but it comes with it’s own unique spins and that’s what makes this a good book.

The character development was good…the characters were likeable…enjoyable to read. I like the contrast of Elise and Jamie. I like the fact that they didn’t waver on who they were from start to finish. We get a story that came with drama..came with conflict and we see the reaction of two very different people and how they confronted those conflicts. The love story tied in….was good. It was not cheesy…not fake. To me that’s refreshing in that I don’t always like to have romance be a chick-lit style story. I like grit to it…realness…ins and outs, ups and downs, devastating but also beautiful. This touched a little on the Romeo and Juliet vibe…and that almost turned me off….but keep reading…look past that…and it will be a tale with it’s own solid ground.

Something worth mentioning because it’s a very obvious in-your-face theme to this book….the sexual scenes. Is it me or is it hot in here??!! Or is it the book?? Oh yeah…it’s the damn book. Very visual…very….very often I must say. Oh Jardine Libaire….the scenes that played in my head thanks to you. Two young adults….and all the uninhibited sexual freedom that young adults have.

It’s a powerful read.

I don’t know if Jardine has written anything else. After reading this book I am hoping that she is has or has something lined up very soon. I’m very interested to read something else by her. Already a fan of her work and her writing style….I would hate for this to be the last thing I ever read by such a talented author.

White fur…sold anywhere books are sold. Looking for something dark and beautiful…deep and intense…a story of love…a story NOT wrapped neatly with a bow on top…something in a much different direction than your typical love story. White fur is worth some reading energy.

 

Peace, love, and happy readings….

 

As always…thanks to the wonderful peeps over at BloggingForBooks for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.

Mini Share..And Then A Book Review On A Book I Can Relate To…

So I was in a funk for about a week. Depression rearing it’s ugly head. No rhyme or reason for the madness…just a series of minor set-backs and life’s crazy realities. Being a little tight financially this month. Ya know..grown-up crap..paying bills. Still nothing like being broke to make you a Pity Party of 1..or rather 2 between my husband and I. We are human. We don’t always come together in perfect unity when things get difficult. Nope. Sometimes we want to claw each others eyes out and bite each others head off. Instead we resort to bickering. Moving on, my kids finally getting over being sick for two weeks..a good thing, but, still exhausting. Facebook news…a little boy whose page I had been following died of cancer. So sad..so thought provoking for a parent. Never feels good to imagine what a family that loses a child must have to go through. Fortunate it’s not me…anxiety ridden and devastating nonetheless for someone else’s torment. Then Chris Cornell. Damn you Chris Cornell!! When you think that a famous Rock Star could end his life because of depression..then it makes you wonder what hope is there for those of us “regular” peeps that have it. Drab and muggy weather. End of another school year for my kiddies…all those factors become little triggers..and then I find myself in that dreaded fog. Sleeping all day…awake with anxiety at night. In a funk…needing out.

Ah, but the power of meditation, the power of my God, the power of amazing friends and family that never turn their back on me when in that funk. And then there’s my books. If you don’t read..if you don’t have hobbies..if you don’t have many brain cells…then I suppose you can’t understand. But if you do…then you feel me. Actually, I don’t particularly enjoy reading when my depression starts getting to me. When I’m melancholy..when I’m agitated..I don’t like to read. I don’t want to ruin what could be a great reading experience. However, since doing some group therapy a few weeks back..we were constantly driven into our heads the need for self-care. As parents most especially we need self-care. Self-care in the form of an hour jogging, 2 hour getaways, drinking coffee all alone, hiding in a corner somewhere to read the bible, read a book, paint your nails, take a bath…whatever self care means to me. That’s reading. So I get in a funk..and I don’t want to read. But I’ll purposefully surround myself with books for motivation. And yep…back to reading. Reading with a purpose…always a good thing. Reading my bible..reading self-help books..reading books that give me inspiration, motivation, positive vibes….

Speaking of….

Crown Publishing has put out yet another great book!! A 260 page read…305 if you add NOTES and INDEX. For non-fiction, 260 pages is about right as far as reading material goes. Within that genre, I get bogged down with too much info when it starts getting past 300-ish pages. I gotta say, this book gave me just enough to keep me intrigued and not weighed down with hardcore substance and facts and medical terms and methods…and all that. This really was just right.

On Edge11ON EDGE : A Journey Through Anxiety by Andrea Peterson….cause YES!!! I mean..this could not come to a better individual. In need of more knowledge, I welcome warmly any books that pertain to something that I can surely relate to. ANXIETY….my gosh, I am feeling it right now as I type this. Anxiety is my daily struggle…my naughty little demon on my shoulder that does everything in it’s power to keep me from being a calm and productive individual. Not only do I live with it but I live with someone else that has it. My 9 year old son is soon to be diagnosed with anxiety as well. My child’s school, as far as teachers and counselors, have pretty much made their own unofficial diagnosis that my son is struggling with anxiety (also ADD and possibly even some form of autism that was not diagnosed when he was younger). We are currently working with his doctor to chart and document his daily life so they can do further testing for an official diagnosis. But here’s the thing….if you spend just one week with my kid that would be more than enough time to see it. Like blaring neon Las Vegas lights, this kid is consumed by his anxiety. He has it way worse than I do. He worries about the weather ALL. THE. DAMN. TIME. First thing in the morning until he lays his head to sleep. He gets easily worked up over what I put on him to wear to school everyday because he wants nothing at all to cause any unnecessary attention to himself. If he gets just one simple compliment about his shirt or his shoes or his hair he will come home angry at me for allowing him to face the day that way. He has major freak outs and melt downs. He goes into panic attacks. He talks to himself. He flaps. He cries for every little thing. He worries about food and how he eats it. He freaks out on noises or large crowds. The list goes on. We see it…the school sees it…outside family members don’t see it…or rather think it a none issue. So yeah…I try to get my hands on as much reading material that pertains to all things mental health as much as possible Cause, here’s the thing…I also have a mild case of OCD. Once I get into something..once it reaches my brain and intrigues me…then it becomes an obsession to obtain everything I can about it. Mental health…I’ve finally owned the fact that I am not just weird or moody but rather struggling with anxiety and depression and manic depression..so now I am obsessing to know more. Like seriously obsessing to know more.

So I read ON EDGE. Let me tell ya, I was having many a “A-HA” moment, many a “YES…AMEN” shout-outs. It’s personable but also scientific. It’s technical but also relate-able. It’s funny…and it’s tender. It’s thought provoking and essential reading for anyone that has struggled or rather is struggling with anxiety. Andrea Peterson speaks on everything..everything that anxiety has caused an effect on her life…and if you have anxiety you’d know that’s basically every single damn thing.

After this read…I walked away from it enlightened, educated, knowing more than I knew before, realizing more about myself that I was not aware of, and with some hope. I’m not saying this fixes all the problems that goes on in my head and I don’t think that this book intends to do that. I think it educates you enough to be aware and gives you a sense of ease on the journey we all with anxiety will have to face anyway.

So let me give you an example of some of those ‘YES’ moments that kept happening for me through out this book:

Anxiety can breed self-absorption, and it’s tough to nurture relationships when you’re only half there. Wracked with my own fears, what help can I be to anyone else?

I literally hide, too. I don’t go out. I don’t see friends. Parties, dinners, and long conversations come to an abrupt halt. There’s simply no room in my head for anything besides worry. I barely have energy to respond to text or emails. The anxiety makes me feel so shaky, so weak, so tired, and so inept, that even that tiny effort is overwhelming. I see incoming phone calls–the names of family or friends–and watch sadly, but with a whiff of relief as they disappear into voice mail. My world shrinks as my emotional defensive crouch becomes a physical one.

And that is with people I’m close to. It is a different kind of excruciating with acquaintances. Wearing a mask is exhausting. I feel like a fraud. I can become socially anxious, too. I’ll lie in bed, replaying the conversations of the day, worrying that I’ve offended someone; berating myself for talking too much, talking too little, or making a stupid comment.

Literally my life on the daily to a tee. I could not have explained it any better. And there’s tons of those same relate-able snippets of experiences throughout the entire book. Completely impressed by such a great read. It’s something I am going to go back to every now and then. I would be more than overjoyed to read more great books from Andrea Peterson.

Maybe something not quite so important but def something that I enjoyed…that cover. LOVED. Very nice touch to the book overall.

You can get your hands on a copy anywhere books are sold.

Peace, love, and happy readings!!

My Modus Operandi…a Vent/Rant & A Book Review..

A hectic week..a slightly exhausting weekend that is still not over yet..and ah, what a fabulous reading month it has been so far. 7 days in and working on my 4th book of the month…accomplished I feel. (Yoda I am talking like).

You can usually tell how good my life is going based on how quickly I read through books. If it takes me 2 weeks to get through a 300 pager then things are not going so well. If I can read 400-ish pages in about 4 days or less…all good. Day 7 and working on book #4…yeah all good. Of course life is not without it’s difficulties and mental health issues don’t just go away. Yes I have had some struggles but I have been managing and coping with them better than before. I’ve had some weight lifted off my shoulders…weights in the form of people…and we (we as in my husband and I) have been tackling personal and financial issues head on, I’ve been praying more and giving my thoughts to God and not nosy ears…and bam, conflicts stay away for the most part. I struggle with my anxieties, I deal with fears that never seem to get relief, depression rears it’s ugly head when I least expect it…..but I refuse to let it get the better of me.

And I read!! Read Read Read…read like I give two shits what people think of my reading..cause according to certain close family source, my reading is a means for me to “sit on my lazy ass and do nothing” with myself. Not true by the way. Reading is just what I love to do…just like drinking booze is what other people like to do…or like listening to music..or smoking. Reading is what I love to do. It fuels me…it gives me something to relate to. Enjoyment. If I don’t want a job or don’t have one that is strictly because of a reason unbeknownst to anyone but my husband and I. Speculation is just that and not a means for unwarranted criticism that I did not ask for. Surely I don’t delve into someone elses relationships and question their budgets or purchases or anything at all…cause ya know, I’m a grown-up with my own shit to deal with. And surely I don’t help someone when they are in dire need and then wait for the opportunity to remind them that I have helped them and I want compensation…who does that??!! Oh wait…I know….

So yeah… I had a moment where I allowed someone’s tongue lashing at me to be the stinger that hit a sore spot for a paranoid high anxiety freak like me. I allowed someone’s verbal abuse to hit me. I almost allowed this person to take something that I love to do, something that has helped me cope from sexual abuse when I was a child, sexual abuse when I was a teen, something that has helped me enjoy my times when I was alone or felt alone, something that I did to pass the time when I spent countless days and nights by myself when my husband and I were broke and he was cheating and I was left with two babies in a small apartment with no cable or t.v or a phone, something I do just to do because ya know, I’m not a drug addict or an alcoholic, I’m just a reader of books. Someone felt the need to tell me that reading on my ass all day is the worst thing about me. And no this is not me victimizing myself. But like my daughter’s therapist has said to me…Purge it…and let it go. So I guess this is that moment…I’m purging.

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I stopped reading for a minute because I felt ashamed. I stopped looking at a pregnant giraffe on my laptop because I felt like a loser. I stopped doing all these silly little enjoyable things because I felt like I didn’t deserve to enjoy life like everyone else because I don’t have a job. I stopped. And then I got support from people that saw my pitiful little woes, that know my mental health issues, that are just family and friends and want to help. They reached out with encouragement and I picked all those things back up again. As a wise cousin of mine has reminded me (by tagging me in a few daily inspirational FB quotes) we all make mistakes, we all judge, we all do things we are not proud of…but no one has a right to imprison your mind in that way. Only God can judge and he don’t judge like that. Amen cousin Amen…..

So yeah…I am not always 100% sunshine and roses. But I am okay with that. I am okay with having good and bad moments, good and not so good intentions.  I have to remind myself constantly when I am in a bad moment to make it a passing moment…to deal and walk away. I have to still deal with conflict..it’s human to do so. But at least I can remove those bricks off my back that are removable. And I am a stay-at-home mother DAMN-IT!!…that’s it. I owe no one an explanation towards something that is between a husband and wife and the kids. My kids LOVE that I am always available to them. That’s more than enough reason for me.

Back to my hectic week. Teacher Appreciation. Every day of this week we are given something to do or give to our kid’s teachers. Monday it’s one thing…Tuesday another…etc etc. Exhausting. It was like 10 projects (2 kids) in the course of 5 days. An extra grocery shopping trip for treats, supplies, desserts and salads. Yes, teachers are worth it. They go above and beyond for our little heathens so they deserve something in return. I was thinking their paychecks did that but hey…I’m just being a cynic. See…Mrs. Curmudgeon comes around every now and then. I happen to love my 5 year old’s Kinder teacher and my 9 year old’s 3rd grade teacher is one of those after hours kinda peoples. I can contact her whenever I need to and because we are possibly dealing with my child having a form of autism, high functioning anxiety, and ADHD (awaiting doctor confirmation) she has even gone a step further to say that she would gladly meet me for his appointments in the summer to make sure he gets the care and treatment needed so he can face his 4th grade school year productively. Now that’s worthy of treats and praise!! And I suppose that’s worthy of a disastrous looking living room with crafts and glue sprawled all over the place and a gnat infestation in my kitchen because gnats around here are the freakin’ worst. I’m not blaming that on the teachers…I’m just confessing we have a problem over here.

 

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The sick 5 year old with the bad cat, Frankenstein. This isn’t even the one that needed the E.R visit. 5 days of this off and on.

Then if Teacher Appreciation Week wasn’t ‘work’ enough for this lazy reading mother…my kiddos go and get sick on me. Both dealing with coughs and colds and body aches…we thought it was just allergies but after an emergency room visit for my son this weekend we were told that a stomach virus has been going rampant in the schools and flu-like symptoms are def one of the complaints. When aren’t viruses rampant in the schools, right??!! Prescription meds, some medical advice from my bestest most intelligent medically authorized cousin that was a pediatric nurse for many years…and home to sleep…but first, some reading in bed of course!!

Speaking of cousin….after our E.R visit we stopped by to attend a BBQ that was in the works and a failed attempt at watching the Canelo VS. Chavez Jr fight. Yes, failed attempt. We spent the entire fight trying to watch illegal live streams to no avail. Booooo!! While the guys were very disappointed, I was going strong with sappy happy feels. I love spending time with this particular cousin. I adore her husband. I love being around all her kids and their friends. Always a full house of people coming in and out…no judgement zone..where we are free to be ourselves. I feel at home with them and that’s always a great feeling when you feel at home with a group of people. I get to talk with my cousin for hours about……tun, tun, tun…..BOOKS!! Cause she is just as hooked as I am for the beauties. Only book lovers know what other book lovers feel. TRUTH. I mention her and her family and their love for us because she (among a few other family members that have been supportive) has given me a lovely realization…that for every shithead that thinks they have me figured out and decides to “tell it like it is” with some verbal abuse…there is someone out there that loves and supports me. Like the cheesy quote says: Surround yourself with the people that do love you…not the ones that don’t. So I am.

We get home..exhausted. We have vomit hardening on the side of my son’s bed. A dirty house..like CPS is going to come and take my kids away from me if they see this kinda dirty, dirty. Our wallets a little thinner. A new pet turtle that my daughter decided to surprise us with. I’m feeling okay. I’m feeling socially drained but in a good way. I’m feeling like my anxiety did not get the best of me this week. And speaking of anxiety, I’m feeling like writing a review on a book with such a topic.

 

10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac. Received this a few days ago…finished it in a little over 24 hours. Very easy to get through. Maybe just a little too easy for my liking. I don’t really have anything in depth to speak on as far as this book is concerned. I wanted to relate to it more. I thought I was going to because I read a blurb that talked about a girl who struggles with anxiety. I thought, “Ooooh…now here is a book that I will understand” But NOPE.

10 Things I Can See 1
This cover!! Remove the dust-jacket, and yet another vivid cover.

So the main character, Maeve. A teenage girl who is also a young lesbian. Her mother, about to go on a 6 month trip to Haiti with her boyfriend Raymond, has to send Maeve to stay with her father until she gets back. Of course as most teenagers get about ‘change’, Maeve is not pleased with this arrangement and wants to stay home alone while Raymond’s gay brother stops in to do routine check-ups. Maeve is close to this gay brother, he’s actually been much of a mentor to her on the gay/lesbian lifestyle. Maeve’s mother refuses to allow it because there has been issue in the past. Here’s the thing…Maeve suffers from extreme anxiety. Like over-the-top extreme. And that’s really the only thing that I discovered that I did like about the book.

Maeve’s struggle with anxiety is evident and felt with Mac’s writing technique. She translates these mental struggles by narrating every thought that drives full force into Maeve’s mind about every single thing. So relate-able. I felt like I was reading particular episodes that I have on the daily. If you struggle with anxiety then you get what I mean…that dialect in our brains that won’t shut off, that thinks out every possible scenario of what could go wrong with a situation, that constant negative babble that won’t shut up!! It’s in almost every paragraph. You can read that anxiety…it’s believable. It’s as annoying to read about it as it is for someone on the other end of that anxiety to deal with. So okay, yeah, I can find something about this book that resonated with me….the anxiety. 

But then there are those “hardcore” life issues that get thrown in. Maeve being a lesbian. Maeve having a bad experience with another lesbian. Maeve trying to get the new girl. Maeve’s father’s struggle with alcoholism and a few other extracurricular things. Maeve’s mother’s struggle with dealing with and moving on from a man that cheats. Maeve having a split family and then a blended family. Financial strife. Blah blah blah. Don’t get me wrong…all relate-able issues that are sometimes good to read about…but in this case, they were all just throw ins. I was kinda waiting for the story to have a point…then I got to the end and realized all those things were the point..but I felt like they were just issues leading up to a point that never quite came.

SPOILER ALERT-ISH: Maeve has anxiety…extreme anxiety and her life is good but also a mess. Maeve falls for a girl. Together they deal with prejudice..in the end things work itself out and Maeve, who still struggles with anxiety, discovers she doesn’t struggle with it as severely as she use to. The End.

I wanted more grit..and rawness. But to be fair…this book is classified under YA and maybe it’s a tad too cheese for older YA but it actually works perfectly for very young YA, very young SHELTERED YA. Cause yes..it was just a wee bit cornball. Real topics, serious issues, life choices and decisions that are too harsh for little kids but too sugar coated for older peeps…all wrapped up in pretty packaging with a darling little bow on top. But ya know, if you want a storyline that is not going to destroy you completely..maybe you just want a light read about serious issues…then this one is it. If you want characters that are fairly simple..easily likeable and at times very unlikable…then this one is it.

Actually…here’s the benefit of this book: Give it to that certain 13 to 14 year old that is discovering herself and is going through some stuff…give it to her because you want her to know that things work itself out and all is well in the world..not perfect, but well. Yeah..give it to that girl.

And there’s my rant…and a book review. 10 Things I Can See From Here. Of course I never like to give a bad recommendation. I feel like the author puts a ton of hard work into those pages and they are deserving of some praise. The fact is, not all books are for everyone and that’s okay. So I still say…get the book, or order a cheap e-book version, or find it in your local library, or check to see whatever else this author has written and start with those (with fingers crossed), or get the book for someone that you think would like it. (And yes you can get this practically anywhere books are sold, in the flesh or online) Don’t just take my complete word for it…

Peace, Love, And Happy Readings.

 

My apologies for my terrible grammatical mistakes…to which I know are plenty. Most times I have no clue where to put a “(quotation) or a ‘(apostrophe) or a .(period) I just do it…knowing that I am probably really annoying the hell out of some English Major, Minor or even simply an English Everydayer that knows better than me, or is it I??!! You get what I am saying.

I received this book free via bloggingforbooks in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.

It’s Fiesta Season In My City…And I’m The One At Home Reading Books!!

So yeah…it’s Fiesta week here in my city of San Antonio. Parties galore. Fiesta events, parades, Church festivals, you name it..we are celebrating it in some way. “We” as in “they”..cause as far as “we” are concerned…I’m at home reading books and they are all out there celebrating. It’s all good though. I’ve been there, done that and might eventually do it again someday. I just have not been in full on, brave the crowd, fiesta mode. The big difference from every other year though is that I use to mope at this time. If we (my little family) could not afford to go or were unable to for some other reason, it made me feel sorry for myself. I was bitter…sad…emotional. Of course..I’m human. Peeps are out having fun spending money on booze and food. I’m at home eating a sandwich wishing I had cable. Not the case this year..and now I have cable.

Gosh what a difference therapy and self-therapy makes. I’m more conscious and aware of how I do something..and how I respond to something. This time, this year, everyone is partying and I’m at home….still having a good time, just in a different way. It’s just the “little things” that I am celebrating. Yes that cheesy quote…only this time I embrace it. A birthday celebration for a cousin of mine at a cool little 80’s style dive where I completely let loose,  fiesta events at my kids elementary school that have me pleasantly drained, quiet time at home with the hubby, movie night with the 6 of us. All still great moments and greater feelings. People are having a good time all around my city and although I am not a part of that, per se, I still feel great….and not bitter. This time around it’s a choice not to partake..and that’s only because I am working on my family..we are working on getting through the big things, appreciating the smalls things..and just enjoying experiences as it comes.

And yes…life did throw me a hardball…smack into my chest…a mild pang to the heart…a few times actually.  Family drama that got absolutely over the top ridiculous and petty. So ridiculous, I was embarrassed to be a part of it…that’s how absurd it was. I mean, how do you fight back with people that are single minded conspiracy theorists that use ‘jealousy’ as a valid argument to anyone being even remotely different from them?? (Therapy says…”You don’t..you just move forward”)When someone blocks you out of social media you take advantage of the break. I didn’t know how to cut the cord, grateful the other person did it for me. It’s freeing. I feel a weight lifted off my shoulder. If you can’t come to a mature understanding with someone then it’s best to move on. We don’t all have to be in each others lives forever just because at one point we were placed there. If that wasn’t enough of a mental and emotional mind fuck, my oldest son got into a serious car accident, but thanks to the higher power, walked out of it with barely a few scratches, a seat belt burn, and some bruising. (Yes…the Lord does have our backs that’s for sure..and moving forward we are on the hunt for an affordable vehicle). Nothing like police officers and paramedics telling you that they thought your kid should have been dead after ramming into a cement truck to make you forget all stupid petty drama and give you some prospective on your blessings in life. Another mind fuck, we discovered that my daughter is being bullied and harassed at her school (by two much larger than my daughter, girls) because she is in an interracial relationship that they are not happy about. To learn that your daughter is being harassed not just physically but also with cyber bullying….it’s brutal.  I’m am however, proud that my daughter has been taught to defend herself (to which she has) and she is glad that she has parents that are proactive as best as we can be, still…it’s a situation that involves our constant and exhausting guidance, reassurance, and her independence to try and handle what she can on her own while we try to deal with the rest.

Those are just a few things….but guess what?? I’m still here. I’m typing this right now…so that means I am handling life as best as I can. I am still weak at times..yes, but I am getting by. As the saying goes, “so far, I have survived every single setback and problem that I have faced..that WE have faced.” Fact..and fortunate that I can, so far, survive it with a supportive husband.

So moving forward. Life has been good. Steady. High and lows…more highs than lows. Relationships with certain long time friends and family are going strong and thriving. I am content. I read my books. I take life one day at a time. I have found some peace in the things that I can’t control and am thriving in the things that I can. Yes, I’m still a bit of a “Curmudgeon”. It’s who I am..and I embrace that about myself. Who would I be if I wasn’t that person?? But now I store it away sometimes.  Save it for the people that understand that about me. My problems are given to God and not to human ears. Boy is that a lesson I have had to recently learn. My thoughts…well…I still do this thing called blogging. And as the therapist says…journaling, blogging, all these kind of outlets are good things.

And of course I read. I read more when I am happy in my life. I always find it a struggle to read when I am miserable. You can rate my happiness level on my “read” pile for the week, month. Working on The Goldfinch and a non-fiction that I have been dipping in and out of, Mental Health Through Will-Training. The Goldfinch…amazing! Slow but rich in character development. Mental Health Through Will-Training…insightful. You have no idea how many “Hallelujah” moments I have had in such an outdated but very much important to this day read. When you read a section and then ponder back….”woah, I could have handled that situation 3 months ago much differently”. ..yeah..I know better next time.

And then for complete random fun…I took a chance on a quirky little book Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson. Quirky is right. That cover. It appears cheesy. IT’S NOT!! Hardcover copy showed up at my door the day before yesterday…I’m already writing a report on it. The reviews (not that I care about reviewscompletely, but in case you do..and I hope you do because it means you care about my review) totally lived up to what I was hoping for. There is hardly a bad review on this book and for good reason. Screenshot_1671

Fast paced..easy moving…but with some gripping issues. The year is 2022. At this time we are being hit with the thought that the future is bleak for anyone Jewish. Racism. Unsafe environments, tension in society. So we are introduced to the Jacobson family on their way to what could be their mother’s last Passover celebration…the three adult children Mo, Edith, And Jacob, each dealing with their own personal issues and some dysfunction at the hands of their very seedy and tyrannical father, Julian. They resent him and for good reasons of their own…but for an even greater reason…they feel as though their father has been attempting to sort of speed up the process of their ill mother, Roz’s, eventual passing. Attempting to foil that plan while also trying to give their mother the best time of her life until it’s lost…heart wrenching and strange and complex.  It’s dark and thought-provoking. The characters…completely unlikable people and yet it’s so captivating to discover more about them as the story moves along. Family dysfunction. Much easier to read about it than to live it. And that’s why I love books so freakin’ much. One reason anyway.

The backdrop and all that is going on is bad enough. Could I have done without it? Probably. Still it was okay. It made for a more strenuous and tense situation between the family I guess. The family drama…well that’s just it…coping with the world around…dealing with the world inside…and figuring out sometimes that the people you despise are also the people that would have your back against any outside forces. Story of a highly dysfunctional family..the people we love to hate…hate to love…love to love…whatever. All of it was good enough for me. The writing style…phenomenal. David S. Levinson…never heard before. If he has any more books they will soon be owned by me.

It was funny, sad, thought provoking, gut wrenching, in your face “dramatical”(my word). If you can deal with a bit of social/political turmoil..then this book has it. If you can bear reading about dysfunction and even laugh at it..then this book has it. I got through it in a few sitting within the course of 2 days. I enjoyed the read. Now the characters I did not like and to some people that might make for an unpleasant reading experience…for me I don’t mind hating characters and still enjoying the story. It’s something much like reality I suppose.

Well…that’s it. Viva Fiesta, Peace, Love, and Happy Readings!!

Thanks as always to the wonderful peeps at BloggingForBooks for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.

….Cause I Needed To See What All The Fuss Was About Book Review…

The Power Of Meaning: Crafting A Life That Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith. Yes…the title did it for me. I had to get my hands on it. When you are discovering things about yourself, when you are going through mental struggles, when you are drowning in memories, and worry, and insecurities, when your distant family life is falling apart day by day, when people are out to break you…then yeah, you see a title like this and it screams out your name. I have been on a mission to get my hands on all things “self-help-ish” “Spiritual” and “Prayer-filled”. I have taken measures in my life to improve my well being..to over-come my possible manic depressive diagnosis…to fight the demons…to deal with family strife. As one group therapist of mine said: You can’t fix anyone else or anything else..until you fix you first. You have a lot to work on..work on you first. And PRAYER..lots and lots of PRAYER!!

The Power Of Meaning

One good quiet afternoon with the kids playing joyously at the neighbors house for a few hours, I got started on this book. T.V off, laptop shut down, mind in full commitment to this book. So the concept: It’s more about searching for the meaning of your life and what is meant for you through action and giving back rather than to seek out personal happiness. Fulfillment comes from having the power to tap into our mental resources…and gain a better understanding of the reason that each and every one of us is here on this earth, acting upon it..and striving always to do something that makes us better, productive beings. Something along those lines.  

Hey…I was sold. I was enjoying the message. It gave me a feel good feeling as I read it. Thought provoking and inspirational. I read this book with great reflection and insight. There are some very beneficial concepts in this book…several, that we can use as a daily guide for our lives. The entire book is formatted and written in a way that is easily understandable. Bits and snippets that I continue to carry with me a week after reading this book. It gave me some peace..a little bit of motivation…kept me somewhat focused on a goal. Goals…actually.

So the concept and thought-provoking moments in this book…….

The four pillars where these personal meanings of our lives exist. I’m sure it’s more complex than four pillars…but the author breaks it down for us. First is BELONGING. Oh my God if this is not a sore spot for me in my daily life. A stay-at-home mom, so let’s keep it real…a lot of people don’t respect a woman that stays home. Most people don’t respect a woman that stays home whose family is going through a few financial difficulties. Forever the blame for the reason that we can’t pay all of our bills on time…h, yes, I know it all too well.  Never mind that if I worked I’d be paying for daycare for two young children rather than working to help any bill in the home. Never mind that I am always here for my kids, always attentive, and always on demand. Never mind that it’s mine and my husband’s business that no one really knows all so well and frankly all opinion is actually based on speculation. Maybe because of that I always feel anxiety about belonging. Not to my own but to everyone outside of my circle. Do I belong?? Hmmm.  Always wanting validation that I am on my chosen path. Relationships with my children, with my husband, even failing relationships with family. Am I important to all these people?? Do I truly belong?? The insight in this book is good. Am I comforted?? Eh, yeah…somewhat.

Moving on…PURPOSE. Okay so that actually ties in to what I just previously mentioned. What is my purpose? Is being a stay-at-home mom enough? That nagging feeling of always wondering if there is something more for me than cleaning messes and wiping butts and dealing with snotty noses. No, surely there is more for me. I serve a purpose…but what is that purpose? We can serve a greater purpose if we have the motivation and goals that lead us to that purpose.We have to take the steps…we have to make the plans..movement moves figurative mountains.

STORYTELLING. Storytelling for the sake of taking our daily life experiences and turning them into stories of motivation…positive aspirations for others but also for ourselves so that we can focus on what drives us…a reminder for ourselves as well as others…but again, mostly for ourselves. If we can tell our own stories in such a way that is productive we can evaluate our own lives..become our own mentor. I see this very much like seeing a therapist. The therapist wants us to do all the talking. That’s the idea. We do all the talking..they listen..we hear ourselves..we start figuring things out in our minds as we hear ourselves talk..we come to conclusions. All becomes well…for a few days or so….

And finally, Transcendence. Transcendence?? I never really thought about that word or even it’s meaning. I never really hear much on transcendence in other books. Totally new to me. Well..I don’t know how to explain without sounding like I chugged a whole bottle of crazy sauce. It’s mystical….spiritual?? other realm-ish-ness?? Well maybe not like that. So basically if we take ourselves out of the norm of society…we rise above all the typical human being type dramas and see ourselves beyond all that garbage. It’s soul reflective..good vibes…and energy-inducing. 

Bottom line…I went into this with an open mind. A very open mind. Maybe it is because I am recently in need of constant spiritual guidance, in need of self-help, the need to desperately get away from the drama and the name labeling that we are victim of OR are guilty of using on others and ourselves, and the nonsense that we sometimes fill our lives with that guided me in my decision to read this book with such an open mind. I enjoyed it. I understood a lot of what was being explained to me. I can take some of these concepts and apply them in my life. I can strive for goals..be aware of what I need to work on…seek out a purpose and act on it. Things in our lives have to mean something to us and we have to act on that. Happiness is not what we have or don’t have. Happiness is not bought?? Happiness is not “Hey everybody likes me…everybody thinks I am a good person”. True happiness is action. True happiness is found in the things you do productively without the need for praise from others.  It’ food for thought…and that’s always a good thing.

Thanks as always to the wonderful peeps at BloggingForBooks for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.

Can We Stop For A Minute & Share & Then Admire This Little Book….then proceed with a review.

What a whirlwind of goodness of the past two weeks. Just when I consider myself the helpless and hopeless little ‘social anxiety’ ridden recluse that gets no love and has more judgemental tormentors than lovers, last week happens…and I am pleasantly surprised to discover that I am surrounded by LOVE!! This week happens and it’s just further confirmation….even through my segregated ways…even though I hide from the world…people in that same world love me and want me around…and aaaaaah, I feel so extra special.  Much needed, much needed…is all I can say.

I’ve tackled some demons. I’ve been the demon. I’ve been too smart for my own good and too cynical of my great life. I have been diagnosed with manic depression and anxiety…I have been recommended to see a doctor by a therapist. I’ve been told I need meds. I felt defeated. I have been blaming myself for all my children’s stumbling blocks and bad deeds instead of having the confidence that I use to have in knowing that my husband and I are doing our best. BUT…..I have also discovered hope. I have also felt a weight off my shoulder. I have felt support and love from people that I was not expecting that support from. I have continued to feel the support from those that have always supported me. I have felt motivated and positive and LOVED!! This is not to gain sympathy. This is not to boast. This is not to condone or justify anything that is not so good of me. Noooo…this is a lovely little breathe of fresh air kinda revelation that I am sharing. This is me rejoicing. This is me praying. This is me learning to open myself up…and let some people in. This is me also having the right to be private when I need to be(most times I need to be). This is me realizing that I have to love from a distance if there is no connection. This is me realizing I can’t get along with everyone and not everyone wants to get along with me..and that’s okay as long as there is space. This is me accepting that I have mental health issues but I am proactive in my self care. This is me loving my kids and accepting that I will not always get motherhood right and they will not always be good little saints. This is me trying to do good..be good..be thankful..be mindful..be more accepting of me..be more empathetic of others. But this is also me understanding that I may still slip up…I may still turn to my negative and cynical ways…I may still complain. But this is me TRYING. This is me flawed and still accepted. This is me that answers to no one but my God, and….

….This is me……..READING!! (Duh….I’m always good as far as books are concerned).

So can we stop and admire this lovely little book that I received last week. It’s beautiful…and it came at such a wonderful time. What I was not expecting was for it to be so gorgeous…and unique. I love that it is. Beautiful texture…the feel in my hands. Beautiful color. Perfect backdrop for the shiny gold font. The design…LOVE!! The size…quirky and lovely..a little bit more than the size of my hand (but I have a small hand). I stashed this in my purse for a week…and it was perfect.

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The Moth Presents ALL THESE WONDERS: True Stories About Facing The Unknown. I mean….if this is not a sign directed at me…I don’t know what is!! I need more good vibes in my life. It’s what the therapist ordered. There is a foreward by Neil Gaiman and the rest is stories by all kinds of people. A plethora of all walks of life…well, all famous walks of life. Louis C.K, Tig Notaro (read one of her books…Funny. Saw her comedy documentary…FUNNIER), John Torturro, and MANY others….edited by Catherine Burns. It’s just a great array of stories about facing the unknown, overcoming fear and striving to do the best of a tough situation.

I laughed…I cried…I laugh cried. I felt a genuine gut-wrenching connection to many of these stories. Maybe they did not actually relate to my mommy-hood life…but the feelings are or have been feelings that I have felt in my own circumstances. Theses chosen story tellers are brilliant at speaking on their emotions, speaking on their story telling talents and truths, speaking on their experiences. It is much to be admired. The magic of storytelling….aaaah, it’s a beautiful thing..especially when it can captivate the heart and imagination (and I’m not trying to be corny when I say that). My grandmother was a wonderful storyteller…I long so much to be in her presence and hear another one of her stories. That can never be…so I seek that same pleasure in the books that I read. From an addicts saying…like ‘chasing the dragon’ to feel that feeling of euphoria, I am forever in search of that one book that grabs at me…that pulls at my heart strings..that gives me that feel-good feeling that I am longing for. When I find it…then I relish in it…and then I go about ‘chasing that dragon’ again. I mean….don’t all readers feel that way??!! (I know I can be a bit much….’dramatic’ should be my middle name)

Engrossing, poignant, raw…and inspirational. This little wonder of a book was truly a joy to read….with a box of tissues in close proximity….okay, and maybe some chocolates for comfort. …while in pajamas.

Oh..and I almost forgot… So there are sections…titled. I felt like they were lovely little signs…messages…a mantra-ish reminder of something good.

I am going to re-read this book at a later time. That is how much that I enjoyed every page…every story. I delighted in it so much that I wanted to immediately gift the copy I have so I can share how wonderful this book is….if I was that kind of a person…but I am not…because I am a stingy beast with my books..at least the ones that I really love. So, maybe I’ll just have to purchase a copy or two when I get the financial opportunity..and then gift those…because my copy is my copy and my copy alone!! I will cherish it and display it on my shelf…and obviously recommend it to anyone that is in need of a great comforting and positive read.

As the very last line of the back of the book summary says,

High School student and neuroscientist alike, the storytellers share their ventures into uncharted territory–and how their lives were changed indelibly by what they discovered there. With passion and humor, they encourage us all to be more open, vulnerable, and alive.

My thoughts exactly!!

Peace, love, and happy readings!!

Thanks as always to the wonderful and kind peeps of BloggingForBooks for my free copy in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave that I will be sharing on other sites where books are sold.

What I Read During Spring Break…

SPRING BREAK PEOPLE. It’s at it’s end. But let’s take it back a week ago…9 Days of reading…day in..day out…no interruptions whatsoever. Holed up in my house, curtains closed, nothing else to do but devote myself to reading. Cookies, hot tea, peace and quiet..a stack of books, kids playing outside..tons of sandwich making because they don’t want to bug me to make their meals, right??!! Oh, how I wish that were true. With countless chores, a few activities, and tons of responsibilities that desperately needed tending to…it’s a wonder I managed to open a book. But no complaints, because even through it all I actually did manage to open a book. I opened a book many times. I opened several books. Somehow I managed to read a whopping total of 4..almost 5 books. Sometimes I can’t even read that much in a month. Like Stella Got Her Groove Back…I got my reading groove back. Since the beginning of the year I have been stumbling through books. I’ve been reading slower than a 1st grader. I’ve hardly been enjoying my reading experiences because I have been so slow..Life and it’s problems. But that seems to be over with..the bad reading experiences…not life. Silver lining..I’m surviving life with reading (and Jesus).

My reading frenzy is back!! And I am thrilled about it. I have never stopped reading but yes, I have slowed down considerably. Suddenly I was taking an entire week just to get through an easy 200 page book. That’s ridiculous…and frustrating. Forget about the 400+ page books. 2 weeks of agonizingly slow reading…that by the time I finished I didn’t even know what the entire story was about. Mind you, there were some good ones in -between that I got through without issue…but then right back to my slump. For the past 2 weeks though….a book reading BEAST I tell you….A BOOK READING BEAST!!

I am back to reading books with in a few days. I am back to being engrossed in the stories…fantasizing about the characters..envisioning every detail in my mind. Aaaaah, it’s so refreshing. I can’t imagine what it is like being someone that does not read. I do also think that it was the fact that I took Spring Break as an opportunity to venture out of my shell. Springing forward. Corny but oh so true. I suffer from depression. I have social anxiety. I fear being in cars. I don’t drive. BUT,  I did things I don’t normally do on my own and without the help of my husband. I spent time with an Aunt of mine…we reconnected finally after having not connected in so many years. We laughed..talked…enjoyed each other’s company. I had a date with the hubby. We had a date with the kids. Nothing was perfect but everything was lovely. I needed that so freakin’ much. It gave me some spark back and I intend on doing more of it here and there with the people that I love…throw in loving myself…and my reading experiences will be more enjoyable. Life is hard…we need to take it easy every now and then.

So yes…4 books. Almost 5. Well..the night is not over. I just might get to that 5th book by the morning. In the meantime, here are the books that I read:

IMG_0353First one…Midnight Without A Moon by Linda Williams Jackson. This is a middle grade book. The back of the book states that it is a read for children between the ages of 11-14, I believe. So Middle grade…early high school age. 320 pages..it’s not a one-sitting read but it has a flow to it that can be read in a day or two even. So…a historical fiction middle grade/young adult book but absolutely something that most adults can and will enjoy. It reads very much like To Kill A Mockingbird. I didn’t feel silly reading it. I didn’t feel like it was an unbelievable tale or it was sugar coated too much. But yes…it was sugar coated somewhat. The fact that this is historical fiction made into a fictitious tale with very real and serious events. Controversial events..a very traumatic and trying time for the black community…made into a story that shares with us, the readers, more or less, what life was like in the time of 1955. Blacks were free…but they were not free. Crazy thing about life. Crazy thing about that time. Free but not free. It gives the reader enough..if you consider that the target age for this book is a young teen. I think it could have gone a tad deeper..a little scarier..a little more informative of the major historical and factual event that occurs in this book. Still….I was fairly content with how far this book went.

Rosa Lee Carter…a 13 year old African American girl, often made fun of for being very dark and tall and lanky, living in Mississippi with her family. Her entire 13 years of life has been marred with some sort of injustice be it from the white community or from the way she is treated within her family. She has a brother, Fred Lee…and well, she has a step brother and step sister only she is not allowed to refer to them in that way. Instead she is viewed as an Aunt, her brother an Uncle to the two kids that their mother took up and claimed when she married their father..a very dreamer type man who seeks out the finer things in life. Wanting to not be viewed as a woman without a man and children out of wedlock their mother pretty much just turns her children into siblings and gave those “siblings” to the care of her mother and father. She visits her children..she claims to love her children…but she was just as easy do away with them for another man…and she did when she one day announced that she was leaving with her new husband and new children and heading to Chicago for a better way of life. Poor Rosa and her brother….stuck with their strict, hard-lined and un-affectionate grandmother, Ma Pear. So heartbreaking…I could not contain my tears. I felt for Rosa greatly. I felt her pain and anger and sadness and extreme bitterness…all feelings that she had to bottle up inside and continue on with her chores and her obedience. Same went for Fred Lee.

The mother moves away with her new family. Rosa and her brother are bitter but making do…working the daily chores, staying out of their grandmothers hair, pining and dreaming of ways to escape the town they are in. We learn the way life..which was basically poor, black, and living off the land of the people that employ you for hardly any money at all when you consider the constant hard labor they give to these family…in a time where black people had to mind their P’s and Q’s around white people..where saying the wrong thing or making too lax of a gesture to a white person could get you in jail or worse yet…murdered.

Which brings me to the other story within this story. The tragic circumstance of Emmett Till. A very real event. A very real person and the reality he faced at the hands of white people for an action he may or may not have done. No matter…the punishment did not fit the “crime”. Mississippi was easily a dangerous place for a black person as was most of the are surrounding it..as was most of America and the world. And Emmett Till soon realized that. I don’t want to give too much away….so I will end it with this: It is a beautiful and tragic book with a bittersweet ending. Very much an enjoyable and captivating read if you don’t mind shedding a tear..if you don’t mind feeling a little unsettled about our country’s disturbing history, if you don’t mind getting into some serious feels. A really great book….and I’ve come to realize that yes it’s labeled for young adults…a mislabeling indeed because it should be read by all.

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Next up: We’ve Come To Take You Home by Susan Gandar. I received this book a few weeks ago. What was great about it…is that I signed up to win this book…I won…and almost immediately the book showed up at my doorstep. I think in maybe less than two weeks of having “won” it. But even before that, the author sent me a lovely comment via Facebook letting me know that my prize was on it’s way. Talk about personable and attentive. If that was not special enough..the book arrives…personally signed with a message, and then containing two book postcards and one of them with an even lovelier message from the author. BLOWN. AWAY. PEOPLES. She did not have to do all that….but she did…and I absolutely feel special.

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But no worries….this is not going to give me bias to my review of the book…and here’s why: I read it…I LOVED IT…this book is what helped me truly get past a very dragging reading slump of mine. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this story….aaaah, I am still thinking about it.

Sam sees things….not so much daydreams or visions but rather visions with feelings. She feels herself as the someone else she is seeing through the eyes of. And that’s just it. She is not a bystander in her visions….she is the one that is in them. She is seeing everything through the eyes of the person involved. She sees things as they are real live events…morbid and tragic, a scene of death and destruction. At first I was confused on what I was reading. One minute she is with friends hanging out with some boys then something happens..she sees a different scene than what is actually before her. She does not know what to make of it. She is lost and confused..and in a sense it makes the reader a bit lost and confused with her. I don’t know if that was the intended affect but for me it happened that way. We learn later the reason these visions are playing out as they are.

As the story unfolds…Sam’s dad and mother are having a few marital issues. Sam’s dad works as a pilot..and is in and out of the house a lot. I think there was a little more to it…but I can’t remember right now. We learn that Sam has always had these strange ways…imaginary friends…and peculiar habits which may or may not tie into the whole vision stuff. Then while with her mother one day they discover that her father was in a serious accident. And although things did not appear bad at first…they got worse. There is a mystery behind this accident…another one of those things we learn at the end of the book. Which by the way…I love…because one has to read the entire book to discover the explanations to some of these mysteries and tie-ins.

So now for the other twist to this tale. Jess. A young girl of about 15, living in poverty with her father and mother and baby brother. The year is 1914. War is going on between France and England. Many men are forcefully serving..many men are dying. Then it’s 1916 and the war is still going on. Men are still dying. Devastation is still everywhere…and all of that hits home when Jess’ dad is forced to serve. Leaving mother and daughter and baby on their own…to fight for what little finances they can muster for survival. Life is grim and Jess does not know if she will ever see her father again.

Tragic and beautiful. Jess is sent away to work for a very rich family…The Major and his family to work as a maid in their mansion. The same family that Jess’ mother worked before. Adjusting to life as a maid…and then she meets the Major’s son, Tom, a young man much older than Jess, back from the war. At first she finds him odd…intimidating even…but things change. Another tale unfolds. Aaaaaaah. Eeeeek. Excitement coursing through my veins.

We flip back and forth between stories. We go back and forth to the past and back to the future again. Sam and Jess…Jess and Sam. And then it all comes together in the end. GENIUS.

There was a book that I read by Alice Hoffman that I fell madly in love with a few years ago…The Marriage Of Opposites. This was as great as that book and that book is a success. Beautiful…bittersweet…full of despair and sadness but hope. Romance tickling at the back of my neck with every page turned. It took me a little more than a day to get through it because of LIFE but I would have finished it in a sitting if I had the choice. DID NOT WANT TO PUT IT DOWN. Yes..read this book!!

Things Lost In The Fire2222We move on to book #3: Things We Lost In The Fire: Stories by Mariana Enríquez . A collection of short stories by a new up and coming International author. A collection of short stories that are macabre, that are a little spooky, that are unusual and almost nostalgic. They read like stories I’ve heard in my childhood. Being Mexican..as a child, oh, the countless stories we would hear or tell ourselves. I will say Mexican people have a way of creating fear and dread in a tale…a moral of the story tale…a precautionary tale…to get us to go to sleep, not visit that particular night club, don’t go down those roads, never talk to strangers, stop and think. I am realizing very much that Argentinian culture has the same concept in their stories.

12 short stories of contemporary Argentina..but made to feel somewhat timeless. There was some creepy stuff going on in these stories. There was also some confusion in some of them. Food for thought in some of them. And one or two I really had no real interest in but they were not bad. Yes macabre..and yes a little skin crawling as your mind starts to take over where the story leaves off. If I was being honest…I could have and would have enjoyed more. I wanted more. I can literally sit here right now and start typing up a story that was told to me by my grandmother about men that come at night and look into the windows of houses to take peeks at children and it will scare me so much more. Yeah see…I glanced over at my living room window, a little spooked. This is not to say that I did not enjoy these tales. I had some definite favorites. Those favorites I would love to see turn into a full on novel because I want to know more about those characters and know more about where the story ends up. But then there were those that I just didn’t get. I have to go over the book just to remember what they were about. Of course this is to be expected with short story reads. Can’t like them all.

I can tell you the ones I did like right off the top of my head…the ones that grabbed at me..are sticking with me still today. THE DIRTY KID. An odd read. One of the longer ones in the entire book. I can’t explain why I liked it but I did. THE INTOXICATED YEARS. Gave me the chills. The girl walking into the woods for no reason whatsoever. She could have set the location in Mexico or somewhere in Texas and it will fall in line to the folklore that we have. It left me unsettled. Having to use my own imagination. Maybe I would have liked to know more…but the unsettling is what has me remembering so if it were a page or two more it would have not had that same effect. ADELA’S HOUSE. Strange. Spooky. Confusing.

I have done a review on this book previously. I read it at the time…but kinda skimmed it in one of my fogs. So re-reading it gave me a new appreciation for this book. What I loved before I loved more. What I did not like I began to like. What I despised…stayed that way. There is a feminist feel to all these stories even the ones with a male main character. And I think that is what I loved about this book over-all…reminds me of my childhood where the folklore is female driven. It scares me more. We expect there to be male serial killers. We expect the rapist of our nightmares to be men. But when the spooks come at the hands of women…well that is unusual and thrilling even.

Lastly: The Big Let Down by Kimberly Seals Allers. Much anticipated for me. I breastfed all 4 of my children. My oldest I breastfed him exclusively for a 1 and a half. Then went on to feed him another 6 months with the breast while trying to ween him onto milk and more solid food feedings. I breastfed my daughter for 6 months and then supplemented for another 6 months on formula when she began having gastrointestinal issues. I breastfed my other son for about 8 months. And my last kiddie, I breastfed him for a year and a half…actually almost the full two years. Exhaustion can’t even describe the true nature of it all. But I will say with all honesty, nothing in the world can compare to the bond mother and child have being so close in each others presence day in and day out while feeding. I have nothing against formula feeding moms. Nothing against pumping exclusively moms…whatever floats your boat is none of my business to judge, but I will say breastfeeding moms stand apart from all the rest. We are the mothers that choose to give our entire selves to baby. We can’t be greedy with our ‘down time’, we can’t be selfish with our appearance, heck we can’t even think about looking cute in fitted blouses for the duration of the feeding period. We are baby milking machines. THAT’S IT. A baby attached to our bodies in what feels like 24 hours, days a week, never ending cycle. So yeah…kudos to us for getting it done. Again..nothing against the other mommies that make different choices…but come on..there is no comparison and I wanted that validation that I did something right in motherhood(not that I really needed it but ya know…it’s in a book…might as well). In a world full of Pinterest mommies and self praise…I get to do the same..alone..in my living room. I deserve the recognition too. I did something great and selfless and amazing for my babies. I gave them myself.book order day33

Rant over..bragging ended…review commenced. I wanted to read this book because I know a lot about the experience of breastfeeding but do I really know the facts, the data, the information behind it all. Yes and no…but this book will determine that somewhat. Obviously this book is all about the breastfeeding mommas. If this book does not sell you on the idea….I don’t know what will. Mind you..I did not enjoy it as much as I would have liked to enjoy it. I found myself a bit daunted by all the facts and figures…OMG, I had to skim through the chapter MILK MONEY. I was seeing numbers, and ratios and percentages in my nightmares but that’s just me being a fiction lover…sometimes the hard facts and data can be a bit too much. I LOVED the Introduction. It was like a Pep Rally..getting me all excited for the rest of the book. After that I fumbled back and forth with being fully engrossed in what I was learning..and keeping myself from napping while sitting up.  

The fact is…you will learn something from this book. It is an eye opener.It validated my choice to breastfeed all these years. I was relieved for that. I realized things I did not before..and that’s with years and years of breastfeeding experience behind my belt. Obviously you can never know it all about anything…there is always more to learn. However, I’ve reached the end of my breastfeeding days and so I don’t know if the info was as valuable as it would have been if I had read this before. I also don’t know if I really grasped anything inspirational from this book. Yes…it’s pro breastfeeding but it was more fact fact fact…than inspire inspire inspire. I had to trudge through the book more often than not. Still, I think this book needs to be in every ‘mothers-to-be’ prep bag. I think it should be bought by all OB-GYNs and given to mommies on their first Pre-natal visit.

Done. That’s 4 books. I am currently doing a re-read on The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath. I tried to re-read this book last year and stopped about 50 pages in. At the time I was not feeling it. The Reading Gods have blessed me with the inspiration to love this book the 2nd time around. Almost done with it and have re-discovered the reason I loved it many years ago in High School.

So happy readings!! Peace…Love…and Self Care!!

Thanks as always to the wonderful peeps at goodreads for awarding me We’ve Come To Take You Home, Midnight Without A Moon, and The Big Let Down…all free in exchange for an honest review.

Also to bloggingforbooks for my request of Things We lost In A Fire, free in exchange for an honest review.

…to which I gladly and voluntarily did all.

Spring Break…and a book review, The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis

What a month, what a month, what a freakin’ month!! And it’s only the 13th. Bombarded with  stuff…complicated stuff…life stuff…people stuff…drama stuff…family problem stuff..teenage rebellion stuff. Aaargh. I had to stop myself from ripping out the already thinning hairs I have left. Forcing myself into a state of calm…zen…meditation…all I want to do is read…and be around those that read because they get me…and they relate…and all they wanna do is talk about what they have read…and we share our reading experiences…and we can forget about all that stuff for another time. I get all that with a cousin of mine. We get together and we “Fangirl”. We talk about characters in books as if we know them personally. We gossip about celebrities. We take our life problems and mix them with the advise we get from the books we read. We are corny as corny can get…we are on the same level…we never feel like we are competing with one another. I walk away feeling refreshed. Is that not the most amazing relationship to have when the rest of the time you are going through stuff??!!

Speaking of stuff. I’m in therapy (a new thing for me)…and I was given a homework assignment..and it has to do with purging my life of all that ‘stuff’ that weighs me down. Guess what??!! I was told to…..READ!! Duh, I’m going to take that advise. Well actually…I was told to read because I mentioned I read but basically we were told to do what makes ‘me’ happy…to do what helps ‘me’ to be at peace…to do what ‘I’need to do to be a better ‘me’. Me..DALAI MOMMA…okay well not DALAI MOMMA…Michelle. Self-care. I should not be ashamed to have it..do it…make a routine of it. Also being a stay-at-home mommy doesn’t mean that I am not as worthy of it as someone that works or has a career or does whatever the hell they do. Nope…I am just as worthy…just as deserving of self-care. So we must PURGE PURGE PURGE…all that does not serve us well..all that does not help us in our life..all that is set out to make us not feel good about ourselves. Purge it..purge it all. Be done with it. Move forward. Rejoice in the goodness. Strive for better.

So….GOALS. We have Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming soon…I have devoted and promised to use that time in a different way than I have for the past years. I have decided to make some changes….no commitment, no requirements, no getting my mind wrapped up into the opinions of others, no more feeling of dread that I have to follow the crowd, have to say and do the right things. And mind you, I love being with people that I love…once upon a time I was all about it. But..I don’t love feeling like all my actions are being docked. I don’t love that my feelings are not validated. I don’t love that I have to do what everyone else is doing when they want it done. I am going to do whatever feels right for MY little family (not someone elses) and I am not going to feel a bit of guilt about it whatsoever. Whatever my peoples want…whatever we decide we want…we shall do. Can it really be that simple?? That remains to be seen. But when I accomplish that…I am going to read as reward for getting through…..

So it’s not just about the reading. I am trying to take more from these sessions I attend. Court mandated therapy sessions..because my son has made some poor choices in life. Still…as my instructor said when I met her, “God doesn’t make mistakes…you are here for a reason…and that reason is a good one”. I want to believe that because now that I am involved I am enjoying this time. I can only assume that I am annoying family and what few friends I have with my constant talk about it…but hey, it’s only because I am fiercely optimistic that this will do me some good. If I talk about it more, it builds in me more, and thus it pushes me to not quit. According to gossip..I have issues. So why not support someone that is working through them with professional help??!! But yes, I am looking back at my past…I am trying to free myself from some demons. I am trying to use this time to be more social with the people I choose to be social with…practice better communication skills…..stop focusing on the negative words people say about me..and wallow less in my misery as I do good productive things with a smile. Yes a smile. (I don’t do smiling).

OMG…reminds me. The other day I was grocery shopping…alone. I never go alone because of my anxiety..I always feel I need my husband with me to do the talking..to pay the cashier…all that. This time I go alone..(son waiting for me in the car) and I do my shopping. Mind you I went to the store right before closing so I did not have to be around anyone…but when I got to the cashier, I’m the one that started the conversation. I did most of the talking…and it felt fabulous. The young guy talked back. He did not think I was a freak and I walked away feeling really good about myself. Actually I had to cut him short because he would not shut up!! But yeah. That simple!! I’m learning. I got a very long route to go when it comes to certain people and issues but yeah I’ll patiently save that for a year or two into my therapy…in the meantime, I am giving myself a small victory clap on the back for taking a step to reach out to a stranger and just spark up a conversation without losing my shit in the process.

Rant over…let’s talk about this book and not about me.

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See the eyeball…his, not mine.

 

The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis.  How fitting, a coming-of-age family saga. I am all about the comfort during this Spring Break with all the kids home  with me. I wanted something Dickens-ish mixed with slight morbidity. Modern classic-ish. Something full of depth and character driven. Something warm but rich in intrigue. I found it. The Barrowfields!! This is gothic saga at it’s best. I jumped right in immediately getting vibes that I was going to enjoy this journey. The characters….rich!! Full of dark and mysterious but also kinda normal relate-able beings, imperfections and stories of their own. A multi-generational tale of a family..families..and the choices and actions that are made and how they affect the future of these families. Interwoven lives….uniquely created into this book. I relished in every character…I wanted to know more. By the end of the book I was fulfilled.

Henry Aster’s father, also named Henry, left his small town for big dreams of attending college with the plans to never return to the only place he ever knew. Working hard, he obtained a law degree…met a woman, Eleanor, got her pregnant and then ended up right back where he came from. An intelligent and creative man with another dream of writing a novel. Being a wonderful writer, he again, sets off on his journey to create something great of himself (not actually leaving this time..just taking the plunge to write).  He works on a legal case…success ensues..he buys himself and his wife a mansion. In this mansion Henry and Eleanor go on to raise their two children, Henry (narrator of this story) and his sister, Threnody (no not a typo…just a really really really strange and unique name). So Henry goes on to write his novel. But…there is always that dilemma, as nothing is ever that smooth and easy. Henry(The first Henry..not the son) is a crazed alcoholic, a tortured soul…a complicated man. The idea that his story unfolds as it does…..it’s brilliant. Sad..but brilliant.

A haunting tale…and the fact that this is Lewis’ debut novel…I am blown away. I could see great things from this author. It’s a book that is basically a classic in the making. Seriously..years and years from now this book is going to be a part of the greats of classic tales. This book is going to be on book lists like ‘100 books to read before you die’. I can easily see that.

The cover…great. Rich color…unusual and intriguing. It grabbed at me…I had to own it. Looks pretty on my bookshelf.

So yeah…of course I recommend this book. I can’t really say I had anything bad to say about it. It’s a solid read. It’s beautiful and enchanting..and with all it’s family dynamic and pain…lovely prose..it’s just perfect. I’d much rather read about a family drama than to be a part of one.

As always happy readings….and a little Peace, Love, and Therapy (if needed)!!

You can get this book anywhere books are sold…it being from Penguin Random House, you can def go there…also amazon, Barnes & Nobles…and anywhere else you run across this read.

 

 

Thanks as always to the wonderful peeps at BloggingForBooks for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.

 

A Review: Things Lost In The Fire

I NEEDED this book to get delivered to my house ASAP. Like seriously needed…desperately. And here’s why…I’ve been watching live stream feeds of April the Giraffe and her “hit-it-and-quit-it” boy toy Oliver for the past 5 days without end. Yes, April the Giraffe. Morning…night..all the time in between. It is driving me mad…bonkers…and I might need Lasik eye surgery. It all started when I was doing my daily browsing of Facebook..and I come across the ‘trending topics’ section….

Enter: April the giraffe. I click to check it out…I get on YouTube to see more…yadda yadda yadda…I don’t leave my sofa for 5 days. I am disgusting. A total dud to and of society. And I kinda don’t give a damn….I just sat and relished in the beauty of this giraffe and the soon-to-be arrival of her baby. Can someone say “FANGIRL”??!! I watched for 15 minutes…then an hour..then the hour turned to hours..then days. I start cleaning..then get distracted by April moving so I sit down to watch her…abandoning the cleaning…but then an hour or two later I feel bad and start cleaning again…the vicious cycle won’t end. I have never checked out a butt crack more than I have with April’s. No for real…I keep checking out her butt..for signs of the hooves cause that’s what Animal Adventure Park says we should be looking for. But when I think about it…of course I am obsessed. She’s a mommy..a giant mommy. She’s amazing…and beautiful..and elegant..and she is about to do something so amazing. Call me cheesy but yeah..it kinda makes me excited to be a part of this experience…via the internet, yes…but still. This is when technology is awesome. 

So I don’t want to leave April. And I certainly don’t want to clean my house because it will only serve to distract me from April…but I know I just have to do something productive. Ding Ding Ding….read!! Always makes me feel 10x better. Grab my book….get to reading..and watching April…at least I’m also reading. 

Things We Lost In The Fire by Mariana Enríquez. A quick read at 208 pages. I got through it within two days. What makes it easy…it’s a collection of short stories. I’m not the biggest fan of short stories. I’ve got nothing against them…just don’t usually gravitate towards them. The upside though…I can read a short story collection quicker than I can a novel. The idea of getting many elaborate stories within one book…always wonderful I suppose.

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And I think I love my Frida Kahlo pillow photo bomb more than anything in this world right now.

So 12 short stories to be exact. 12 haunting and eccentric..tantalizing and absolutely macabre short stories. I kinda wish that I could have read this book in the winter time. Cold and dark…home alone..maybe some hard rain..eerie setting. Well, there’s always a re-read in my future.

Did I think it was a little too macabre?? Truth be told, it might be too macabre for someone that just does not like to get that dark. I on the other hand was okay with it. Coming from the girl that gets on crime sites and forums to look for gruesome crime scenes…for fun no doubt. Still…it was a little more along the lines of demonic macabre. Madness of the mind macabre…Argentina and it’s dark history macabre. I found that interesting still but I know a few people that would not want to get anywhere near a read like that. So don’t do it if you can’t do dark. I don’t want to say what the stories are about.  Because these are short stories, I feel that if I speak on any details, I’d be giving the whole thing away. I try to refrain from spoilers. But dark…YES. Quick but depth-filled read…YES. Haunting, stay-with-you tales…YES. A rich take on Latin history and folklore…YES.

UPDATE: After a few days…stewing and thinking about this book, I realized that I did not go into so much depth on this review about the book. There are some very important things I did not even mention and I want to go back and mention.

For one..this book has it’s comical feels. Strange to say for such a dark book but after thinking about it..rereading some stories even, I realized that this book is also funny. A very dark wit about it that drives this book to a very likeable status because it’s a relate-able kind of funny. At least in my opinion. It’s my kind of humor..it’s the morbid way I view things…which is why I find it so relate-able. 2 such stories drew me in and have me still thinking about them. Spiderweb and No Flesh Over Our Bones. Something about those two stories I loved. I could not stomach End Of Term and I had a semi connection with The Neighbors Courtyard because I had a similar experience or two..or three. Again..I don’t want to go into details on any of the stories. 

Another thing…this book, these stories, the folklore are for the most part very women based. And that usually is the case for most folklore…it’s always about a crazy old woman..a group of children..a lady in the shadows..a ghost woman seeking revenge because someone took her babies. Argentina’s tales remind me of the same tales I heard in my Mexican culture. A good woman turned bad and evil because of an injustice she faced. There are a few “man-themed” tales but for the most part this book speaks “WOMAN”, and I loved that. If you are all about the feminist ways then this fictional take is enlightening…ish with a dark morbid view for effect.

And yet another thing..it’s folklore behind modern tales. Reminds me very much of my Mexican culture as I have mentioned. I grew up on these old stories that turned into “happened a few years ago” recalling. All 4 of my grandparents have mentioned to me a story of “it happened to my friend…it happened to my neighbor”. So I felt “at home” when reading these. Scary…only in that it leaves you feeling like it could happen to you or someone you know because they are so relate-able in things heard before and passed down. Days later I’m left still feeling these stories and that’s what I love about a book.

 

If I was ranking this book with stars..I’d go with a 4-ish. A bit higher. I enjoyed how dark it was. It gave me a scare. I was home alone and had the heebie-jeebies a few times. I think that means the book served it’s purpose..it had an affect on me that’s for sure.

This book has been making the BookTube rounds so there are some video reviews or maybe it’s book hauls with a brief description out there. The Publication date just past by a few days so yes this book is out and available. You can purchase this book anywhere books are sold. Barnes & Nobles, Amazon, Half Price Books ?? maybe….

Thanks as always to the wonderful peeps over at bloggingforbooks for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.