Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Assassin's Blade

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Integral back story into the humanization of the legend that is Celaena Sardothien. These 5 novellas delve into some of the adventures before the Throne of Glass Book 1 and before Endovian mines.
I loved being able to get to know Sam on a more intimate novel. I previously read Books 1 and 2, and it helped explain SO much of the thoughts and feelings that Celaena has had and dealt with. If you didn't hate Arobynn before with slight references you will be hard pressed not to after this and yelling at Celaena to connect the dots!

My 2 favorites were 0.3 The Silent Assassins and 0.4 the Underworld. If you are into the Throne of Glass or thinking about getting started, I HIGHLY recommend this book. the order of the books DO matter and should be read in their designated order for maximum enjoyment. as they build upon and reference points within other stories at time. You will have an even more intense love for Celaena and the intricate world that Sarah J. Maas has so brilliantly created. 5 stars as a combined novella book for me.

My reviews of each individual short stories:

by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord is a delightful short story that occurs before we first encounter Celaena in Throne of Glass. It gives the reader a bit of a backstory for her when she worked in the Assassin's guild and let's us get to know the character of Sam. It was a nice short story and my main complaint is that it ended too quickly. I loved the way that we got to see how Celaena's character shows through even at the height of her cockiness. 4 stars

by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Assasin and the Healer was another great gem to this collection.  It was a fairly short installment that showed the readers a possible character that could pop up later in the series with the Healer.  (I have not read past Crown of Midnight as of yet).  It was a great woman empowering and having Celaena teach self defense.  Very short but sweet.  4 Stars


The Assassin and the Desert really stood out to me after reading the first two novellas.  My favorite one so far!  The trials and determination that come through on Celaena were inspiring.  It was nice to see a softer side of her with Ansel and to get to know more about the beautiful horses.  I loved the Silent Assassins and the constant comparison with her own guild.  In another life Celaena would have easily led a very happy life among them.  The fighting movements were spectacularly written. 5 stars!


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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tears, there will be tears, hope, nail biting, all of these things. For this is a book beautifully written by the talented Ruta Sepetys. She follows the journey of 4 main characters in the winter of 1945, Joanna, Emmilia, Florian, and Alfred... Refugees are traveling in the midst of WWII to avoid a Soviet advance.

I experienced this book through audio book. I am not a fan of audio book, but I don't think this book could have been more beautifully told than with the 4 amazing voices that took on the souls of these main characters and brought them to life with immense skill. So in praising this book I must also praise the readers: Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, and Michael Crouch.

This subject matter is heavy but the story is worth knowing and experiencing. Experience the war through the eyes of Teens. 5++ Stars.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Hell On Heels

Hell On Heels Hell On Heels by J.A. Coffey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book 3 in the Southern Seduction Series and finalizes out the trilogy of the main 6 characters of Coffey's story and I must say that she has "nailed" it again... Slight pun intended.

Jess & Matteo will forever be my reigning couple, but the passion between Stan and Caroline was steaming up my kindle... Although I loved the men in the other books, I felt an affinity to Stan the most. Having learned to harbor somewhat of feelings of disgust for the pain he caused Jess and his rumored affairs, Coffey did an amazing job of humanizing him.

Stan seemed the most complex of all of the men and his character was well developed and his internal battle of emotions came across the page beautifully. Caroline is second only to Jess for me, and I loved her fiery personality. This book had more humor than the others and I enjoyed the ride immensely.

Another entertaining and delightful read from the Southern Seduction series, I hope to revisit these characters again in the future. Don't miss out on an easy 5 star read.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

House of Leaves

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm truly not even sure what to say about this book. Never before have I read ANYTHING like this, and in a way I hope I never do again. But do not take that as my regret at having read it in the first place. The amount of work that went into the creation of this book was immense.

I found myself constantly blurring the lines of fiction/non-fiction, going back to read what it was classified as and not sure if it was real or imagines.

This book is so many things: Crazy, witty, horrific, imaginative, intellectual, a mash of so many things, I really don't even know what to classify it as.

It touches upon the paranormal, the mythological, architecture, math, science, spirituality, abuse in all forms, good and bad passions, the imagination and what can come from it and a house that attunes to all who enter to find the darkness which knows no light.

There are 3 stories and more within this tome. The story of Navidson's Documentary and how it was made and those involved. Zapano, a blind man who worked up until his death to compile this story of the completion of Navidson, and then the unlikely Johnny Truant whose footnotes cause loads if entertainment and unrelated adventures during his own compilation of the works of those before him.

This is one of those books that could never be recreated and should be read once for the sheer curiosity of it, but it's not one you are likely to want to keep close to you in life, for it must travel on to others, and be shared as a contemplative genius of being put together. Those prone to fright from a simple horror/psychological thriller may want to shy away from this one... or let their curiosity get the better of them. 5 stars for originality alone

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had started this book years ago and could not male it through to the end. That was long before the movies came out. I ended up revisiting this book after a "blind date with a library book" in which the book was wrapped in paper with a short blurb on the cover so I decided to give it another go.

Just the beginning reminded me why I had put it down in the first place, it just was a lot of mean people and young kids as main characters, not really my cup of tea

I forced myself to press through and by the time that Hogwarts comes around it does luckily pick up. Overall tough I must say that 3.5 is the most that I can award it. The ideas are original but not necessarily ones that I like. The audience is very obviously the middle grade reading crow 11-17ish. The chants and songs are original but also annoying, not really anything I would want to be repeated. The ideas are what pushes me through this book.

I do like the mystery woven throughout but wish there was less immature squabbling between the characters to get through to rally get to the meat of the story. Even on the "good" side there is a lot of wishes to carry out harm and even death to other barely known characters, which seems a bit extreme to me for this age.

I have repeatedly heard that this series does get better with each book, so one day in the future I will find myself int he 2nd book, because I do feel that this series ha potential if it can get more lively. Lots of great ideas here though.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Review: IA: Initiate

IA: Initiate IA: Initiate by John Darryl Winston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the story of Naz, but it is also more than just about one single character. John Winston has created an almost dystopian-type world, that doesn't seem to be so different than a poor neighborhood. If that neighborhood were to be somehow cut off from the rest of society. As I read this book, I couldn't help feeling that there was a vortex around the area that was not escapable.

Naz is an underrated hidden kind of smart, but also has immense dreams that seem to come true in his sleep... without his control. His sister, Meri has soaring intelligence that pushes Naz to live his life for her and push for he to have a better life outside of their neighborhood.

The opening of the book leaves many intriguing questions for the reader, especially in terms of Naz's parentage, and what sort of experimentation may have been going on while he was still in the womb.
Naz faces many challenging issues such as gangs, and foster care and new schools, but he also finds solace in his sister and in chess, and learning how to be a better person and keep himself away from negative peer pressure.

Overall this was a great read, I was left with a lot of questions and would have liked a bit more character development outside of Naz, but perhaps that was intentional. I really wanted to know more about the place they live and why they were there, I hope this will be revealed in later novels. Solid 4 stars for me. A great debut novel!

I received a copy of this book from the author for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Geisha, A Life

Geisha, a Life Geisha, a Life by Mineko Iwasaki

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a solid 4 star read for me. Whereas Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha was meant to entertain, Mineko Isawaki's Geisha, a Life was meant to inform.

Mineko Isawaki is most notable for being one of, if not THE most famous Geisha in Japan's history.  This autobiography is told from her own view of the traditions and trails that she faced. 

Mineko does a brilliant job of taking the reader through the grueling daily schedule she had from a young age as well as giving a lot of historical background to her life and the life of a Geiko (female artist).  She dispels much of the rumors of geishas being little more than pleasure companions.  I love the detail she gives on traditions of a geiko as well as the intricacies associated with each year and season and the symbolism and immense cost of each important occasion and dress of a geisha's career. 

This book is drastically different from memoirs of a Geisha and makes you wonder how both of these stories are about the same thing. This is definitely not a re-read of Memoirs of a Geisha and stands on its own If you are interested in learning more about geisha, and as known in Kyoto as geiko, I highly recommend giving this book a read.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Empaths and Sociopaths

I went through lower levels of this in my youth, as a "fixer", and I went through many great years of freedom and enlightenment.  After giving birth to Liam, my confidence in myself and in life was not as high as it could, especially in my appearance.  Many old feelings of inadequacy were coming to the surface in many aspects of my life.  Liam was my anchor, but I was still especially vulnerable.  This allowed an opening for the most vampiric individual that I have ever come across.  The complete relationship is beyond the comprehension of most people who have never experienced the horror of dating a true sociopath.   Although this article describes the individual as a narcissist, I believe that they actually encountered someone much worse, a sociopath.  As empaths, we must always be on the look out for those that would take advantage of our nature.  I am glad to have survived the horrific experience, and am not intrigued that anyone's mind could be as twisted as this person's were.  Many things occurred during and because of that relationship, and even know I cannot openly speak of them with many, it is hard for others to truly understand what that experience entails.

This is a good read, and definitely being written from someone still feeling the pain of these wounds.

In general terms I would consider myself to be an ambivert, who tends to identify more on the introvert side, but can adapt when needed.  This morning I came across one opinion of the traits of an empathy...  I have often described myself as becoming more introverted every year and so #25 jumped out at me.  The reality of it was so glaring that I knew I was doing this, but didn't really even look at what was truly causing this. 

Like with all things, there are variations of the empath personality type. Some people will identify strongly, others will only recognise themselves in a few of the following traits:
1. Feels calmer when alone, and, in relationships, requires distance and regular periods of solitude.
2. When in the company of others an empath struggles to work out whether they are feeling their own emotions or the emotions of those around them.
3. Struggles to remain present as the chaos of emotions around them pushes and pulls on an empath’s own thoughts, feelings and emotions.
4. Often says yes to others without thinking of their own needs.
5. In relationships or friendships, very often puts other people before themselves, as though everyone else’s pleasure and happiness is more important than their own.
6. Relationships can often move too fast and can become intense very quickly as the empath connects on a deep, intimate level very quickly due to the ability to absorb other people’s energy and emotions.
7. An empath will often take full responsibility for how others treat them and for anything that goes wrong in relationships. They have a great amount of compassion and can clearly see other people’s emotional baggage and so they make many excuses for why people behave as they do, and this is very often to the detriment of an empath.
8. Tends to connect with people who are suffering and often wants to heal others or try to make the world a better place for them.
9. Can find themselves taking on and absorbing other people’s problems and being used as a sounding board or dumping ground so that others can offload their emotional baggage.
10. Instinctively knows when someone around them is not being truthful.
11. Sometimes empaths just know things, without having any idea of where they gained the information. When trying to work out the truth from a lie it can seem as though the information has been presented forward so that it can be used to help make a decision. The empath should only trust the information if they are highly skilled at reading themselves and others accurately and if paranoia or other information is not clouding their judgement.
12. An empath’s mind is an inquisitive one and they are constantly searching for answers and theorize and philosophise constantly.
13. An empath who is highly in tune with themselves and skilled at reading others will often be able to pick up on someone else’s thought processes even if they are thousands of miles away.
14. Connects very strongly to the animal kingdom and identifies very easily with the emotional and physical pains that animals go through.
15. Is often most at peace and feeling harmonious when spending time with nature and roaming around the outdoors.
16. Can feel the energy surrounding physical things and will often choose clothing or material purchases based on the energy that has attached to them.
17. Very creative and highly imaginative, writing, art, music, painting, dancing, acting, painting, building and designing are a few of the traits that empaths very often are passionate about.
18. An empath will likely get distracted easily when they are doing things they don’t enjoy and will quickly zone out or day dream when placed in situations where their mind is not stimulated.
19. Can struggle to fully relax in the company of others and really let their hair down and have fun, unless they are extremely comfortable and at ease with those surrounding them.
20. Prefers their living space to be clutter free and minimalistic; chaotic surroundings make for chaotic minds for an empath and they have enough inner sensations happening without cluttering their psyche further.
21. Finds it very difficult to be around people who are egotistical or enjoy putting others down to make themselves look better. Empaths will often come to the defense of those that have been rejected or bullied in any way.
22. Crowded places are emotionally overwhelming and downtime is required after social gatherings.
23. Highly sensitive to sounds, smells, bright lights and the feel of certain fabrics.
24. Regularly suffers with fatigue and can feel drained following interactions with others.
25. Can become shy and withdrawn as a method of self-protection. This can result in empaths becoming introverts as a way of avoiding the emotional and physical pain that often stems from interactions.

*Interestingly enough I wrote this at the beginning of August 2015, and little did I know that I would end up living with a narcissist/psychopath in less than a month.  See previous blog post:  Emotional Abuse Is.... Part 1

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Emotional Abuse Is...... Part 1

Emotional Abuse Is....  part 1 written in October 2015, but I am only now able to post this, Part 2 to follow soon.

Finding another girls underwear in your live in boyfriend's underwear drawer, confronting him about it and by the end of the argument he makes you feel like it was your fault for finding them and you are in the wrong.

Taking two days to even ask about the underwear because even though you know this is the end, you don't know if you are really ready for it.

Leaving out details such as finding the underwear from people you would normally tell everything to because you know how it sounds and you aren't ready to face that because some part of you still wants to find a way for this to all be a big mistake, and you want to hide in denial.

Knowing deep inside that something is wrong and still needing validation, even with validation from phone proof, instead he says he would be sorry for the video chats with another woman he says he wants to be in bed with that went on in the living room while you were in the bedroom and somehow the argument gets turned around on  you for violating his privacy and being nosy.

Finding phone messages make you feel so physically ill you actually stand over the toilet wondering if you are about to throw up. 

Going through your phone/email/chat to find someone that is not close to situation to talk to about finding phone messages so that you can hear the truth and have it laid out to you, but not actually have to act on it. 

Rationalizing that the person is going through a lot and things will get better.

Another person making you feel crazy and second guessing your intuition.

Having someone throw your help back in your face and make you feel like a bad person for caring and wanting to do things for them.

Violating another person's privacy to get information because you still NEED to see them bold face lie to your face about a woman (another one), from their past that is sending emails about planning their future together as recent as less than a week ago, and him telling  you that he hasn't spoken to them in over four months.

Reading another woman's messages and feeling as thought she is a kindred spirit with the way that they echo your own thoughts and insecurities because you can read in her words that she also feels a wrongness with the same man.

Having someone manipulate your words and turn them against you, constantly calling you untrustworthy and a liar to the point that you start to question yourself and revisit situations in your mind.

Loving someone else's children with so much of yourself that you try to look past the other person's faults because it is not their children's fault and then having your parenting techniques constantly criticized and having them tell you that they hope their daughters never turn out like you. 

Spending more than one second wondering if this person even likes you. 

Hearing your words and descriptions of incidents spoken allowed and knowing how wrong it is, but still rationalizing and envisioning a future with this person.

Beginning to avoid talking to people the closest to you altogether, so that they won't know how bad things are, because you still feel like you need to protect this person.

Having to write this in the first place at a low point to be able to come back and reread and stay strong and remember that you are an amazing woman, that you allowed this man and his children to come into your life with open arms and a welcoming home to try to do everything for them and have all of your efforts thrown back in your face.