Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Life

I'm not sure how to title this post so I'm just going to keep it simple. Life. Because thats what this post is about.



I'm making this post because I haven't posted here in a very long time. I just wanted to talk about why that is.



In my previous post on this topic I talk a lot about school, and how school is very stressful. I also talk about the stress of student loans. The truth is, this is more than school stress. I'm going to be honest here. This is honestly a growing despair that I've been dealing with.



I have quite a few mental health issues, and the stress of school and living off student loans and having to work very hard to keep my scholarship has drained me entirely. I have barely been reading for fun, and when I do read, it's on the bus, usually. The rest of the time I am doing school work, or trying to relax my brain after doing hours of school work and constantly stressing about everything from my health to my grades.



I don't want any of you thinking I'm too lazy to blog, or that I don't care about you. I think you're all so awesome. The reason I haven't been posting or leaving comments on your blogs lately is because every little thing feels so draining when every single day is characterized by varying degrees of stress about different things.



When I say despair, I mean it in the literal sense. Sometimes my mind spirals into a very dark place and I have to work hard to lift myself up again. Getting up in the morning has become a challenge. I'm serious when I say I'm worried about my sanity.



I'm not posting this for pity. I'm posting this for several reasons.



First off, so many of you comment and interact with me on my blog or twitter or whatever and it just makes me so happy when you do that. I feel like I have a kind of friendship with many of you, and I don't want any of you to think I don't care about you anymore, or that I am just abandoning blogging and interacting with you awesome people.



Second, I believe in open dialogue about mental health. I think that talking about our mental health struggles openly can help to diminish the stigma around these issues. I don't really have anything to lose by talking about it, so I guess I'll contribute to a culture that I hope will someday become a better place for the mentally ill. And the low income, as well.



Third, I am honestly just kind of tired of keeping on this mask that everything is ok and that I'm great. I tend to use exclamation marks a lot (at least in my perception) and I think I do that subconsciously because I want to come across as upbeat and fun despite the stress and pressure. I just want to take a second to put some context out there, to reveal a bit of who I am beyond reviews and fun tags and all that.



Again, I'm not looking for pity or anything. I just think that for those of you who like my blog, who like me, it's only fair that I'm honest and open about why I haven't been online much lately. I'm the kind of person who tends to power through things and persevere, so leaving my blog as I have has made me very uneasy.



I'll be back someday, I just can't guarantee when. For now, I'll mostly be here through the occasional tweet or instagram post.



Thanks.


Also please excuse any grammatical or spelling errors. It's one in the morning 😝

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Where Have I Been?!?!?!?

Hey everyone! So I haven't posted on here in a while, and I haven't been too active on social media either.


I figured I should make a little update post to explain things.



It's actually fairly simple...school. Holy mother of chocolate, school.



This semester has been absolutely brutal so far. I have so many more readings for my classes than before. The readings are longer, and more dense. I also have to do lots of close reading because we have assignments based on the readings. So, I have to put all of my energy into the readings as well! I have to see all the fine little details.


My assignments have been super intense as well, not to mention mid-term exams and tests. Overall, I am so exhausted. It's made worse by the fact that I have to keep my grades up to keep my scholarship (or else I'll have to pay extra, and as someone on student loans, that is a very scary possibility.)



So, please forgive my absence. I still love books, and all you awesome blogger friends! I've just been so busy and so tired. It's been a very stressful semester. Hopefully once things settle down a bit, I'll be able to blog regularly again!



Happy reading!

Thursday, 27 September 2018

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski


House of Leaves


 Series: N/A
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Page Count: 709
Published: March 7th, 2000
Publisher: Pantheon Books
  4 Stars ★★★★



House of Leaves follows the story of Zampano, Johnny Truant, and Will Navidson. Told through footnotes, a text-book style narrative, and editor's notes, the tale of a house that is a bit larger on the inside than on the outside unfolds. With exhibits and appendixes to enrich the story, the fear, confusion, and mystery behind Navidson's home is explored.


Zampano, the mysterious author of the Navidson Record manuscript, passes away, leaving the manuscript behind. Johnny Truant acquires it, and finds that it changes his life. The tale of the impossible house is more than just a story, and the eeriness of the account seems to bleed into the real world. Add the fact that Zampano was blind and that The Navidson Record, the supposed documentary film that Zampano's story details, doesn't exist, and you get a world of intrigue.


I bought this book because I'm looking to get into more horror-style stories. I was surprised by the book, however I can't really say I was truly scared. There were a few moments in the book that were genuinely eerie, but the almost academic-style narrative of the Navidson Record killed any fear that I might have surrounding the whole house situation. Characters did face scary situations, but I was never simply scared overall but rather scared for them. That's really why this book lost a star.....something was missing in the scare-factor.


This book definitely gets points for uniqueness. I've never read anything like it before. There are multiple stories being told in this book, and while I worried that it could be hard to keep track of them all, it honestly wasn't tough at all. There is a lot of flipping back and forth, what with referring to the exhibits, appendixes, etc.., but everything seemed really organized.


There are points when you have to flip this book to the side, upside down, or look in a mirror (or really focus to read the backwards letters). At times I was a bit annoyed, to be perfectly honest, especially concerning some of the pages that had just a few words, but the novelty aspect of this book overshadowed any annoyance I had.


The characters were all quite interesting, with Zampano being a mystery, Johnny being a complex character with problems of his own, and of course the characters of the Navidson Record providing an intriguing narrative. I admired Will Navidson's curiosity and determination. Honestly, if my house were as freaky as his had been, I'd just get out of there! But instead he wanted to explore and to understand what was going on. I have to admit I often empathized with his partner, Karen. She was worried about him and wanted him to stop exploring, and I really understood her worries. Seeing both sides of the conflict like this really added to my experience reading this, because I couldn't decide what I wanted! So of course I kept reading, to see the outcome.


I can't say too much more, because this seems to be the kind of book that you have to really experience yourself. I could go on about the story, but this book is more than just the story. The format really affects the reader's perception of the story, which I obviously can't detail online! If you're curious about this book, I'd suggest picking it up. Just be prepared for a long read, some slower parts, flipping your book upside-down, and reading backwards.


I recommend this book to those looking for a unique mystery. If you like unusual books, this book is definitely for you.


Find House of Leaves on Goodreads

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Book Talk

Hey everyone!


Today I wanted to talk about books (as usual).


As someone who uses Goodreads, I often see my Goodreads friends' shelves, including their currently reading shelves. Sometimes, I see people who only read one book at a time. Other times, I see five or six books shelved as currently reading!


Personally, I tend to read two books at once: one physical, and one eBook. I tend to read the eBook on the bus. Sometimes, there will be three books on my currently reading shelf because I have received a review copy. How many books do you tend to read at a time?



This image was found here



I was also thinking about books as de-stressors. When you have four papers due in the next two weeks, or work is getting stressful, I suggest taking some time to relax and read. As a university student, I have a lot of assignments and assigned readings. However, I find myself managing them by dividing the readings into blocks, with breaks in between. I like to relax and read for fun during these breaks. I also like to set goals each day: for example, I make myself read two of my assigned readings one night, and then get to relax and read for fun for the rest of the night. This way, I have an incentive to push through my assignments. I use reading for fun as a reward. It's also great when I get stressed about assignments to remind myself that I have tons of awesome books waiting to be read....that I'll be able to read non-stop during winter and summer break.


Finally, I wanted to discuss reading on the bus. I mentioned earlier that I tend to read my eBooks on the bus. I read them on the ride to and from school, and I like them because they help me to wake up, or to wind down after my classes. They help the bus ride go by faster as well, which is great.


Do you have any similar, or different, reading habits?


Monday, 27 August 2018

Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie


Unleashed (Wolf Springs Chronicles, #1)


Series: Wolf Springs Chronicles
Author: Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Page Count: 382
Published: November 22nd, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  4 Stars ★★★★


Katelyn's mother dies suddenly, and she is sent to live with her grandfather in Wolf Springs. Living in a house in the woods, she feels isolated and yearns for her home in L.A. She fears that she'll never achieve her dreams now, stuck in this little town.


Her life is about to get a lot more complicated. Everything from the town's name to the legends of the Hellhound seem to involve wolves, and her grandfather refuses to allow her to go in the woods alone. Two girls die in the woods, seemingly mauled by an animal, and after her own terrifying encounter with a wolf on the road, Katelyn isn't sure what to think.


I can't say much else without giving some important details away....so forgive my vague descriptions.


I was not expecting to enjoy this book so much. I thought it would be a typical young adult paranormal story, with a love triangle and some issues with a supernatural hierarchy and maybe a bit of hocus-pocus thrown in. I was right about a few things, but this book still stood out in a positive way.


I was right about the love triangle. It's fairly tame compared to those in other young adult paranormal romances, but it's still there. It didn't particularly bother me, except that her attraction to the one guy, Justin, seemed really immature? She basically doesn't think around him for the first while. It's like she can't control herself. That really annoyed me. Meanwhile her feelings for Trick seemed a lot more genuine, and I liked him too! So it wasn't entirely a bad thing.


I was also right that there would be some issues revolving around a supernatural hierarchy. Again, I can't say much without giving anything away, but within the werewolf pack that Katelyn eventually comes across, there are issues with the alpha. I actually didn't mind this part either, because the issues weren't like those typically dealt with in books concerning werewolf packs. There was something added and unique to it....


I took issue with the pacing of the book. It wasn't horrible by any means, but a lot of the more explicitly paranormal stuff started after the second half, and well into the fourth quarter, which made the first bit drag on quite a bit. It also made the ending seem a bit rushed.


I certainly would like to read the next book. There are questions still unanswered, and Katelyn was, while sometimes annoying, a pretty nice protagonist. The writing style didn't stand out as either amazing nor terrible, so it's really the story that makes this book a four star read.


Overall, while this isn't anything too special, there are definitely unique elements throughout the story that make it stand apart from other young adult paranormal books. While the love triangle was a bit irritating at times, the ending left me wondering what would happen next.


I recommend this to those who love werewolf stories. If you're interested in books that take place in small towns with big secrets, you might want to give this one a try.


Find Unleashed on Goodreads