Sunday, May 26, 2013

Summer is here!


The semester is over and I can finally breathe and return to blogging and reading. I had no idea that the semester would take over my life as it did, especially with one class. I'm anxiously waiting for the news of my final grade but have found myself buying books everywhere I go to add to the ever growing stack of summer reading books. :)

I've already finished one (GOLDEN by Jessi Kirby), attended my first signing (Copperfields in Santa Rosa, CA) and started on book two of the summer (Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson).

Be on the look out for a photo filled, book list filled update soon now that I'm back in the swing of things. :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pieces of Me (my life through reading and memories)

This post has been brewing for a couple of months now, but I just wanted to warn everyone that it may be triggering. I'm going to mention eating disorders, sexual assault, and abuse/neglect.

Over the last year, I've read a good amount of books. Nothing like the amount I used to read in my High School or Jr. High days, but a good amount. It brought me to a couple of amazing books that really challenged me. The books shook me, made me remember and made me really think about what I've gone through.

It hasn't been easy. It's been ugly, emotionally draining and outright scary at times. Only a few people really know what I've been through because it's not only hard to talk about, but it's already hard enough to cope with on a day to day basis.

I struggle with these things every single day. Even if I look "okay" on the outside, chances are - I could be having a hard time. It could be any little thing that sets me off - sending me into downward spiral where I just break down and have to put myself back together and fight through.

There are times where I have to force myself to just take a step back and a deep breath before pushing through and going forward.

Except, it's not that easy.

People think it is. I've heard it from a lot of them. They think that because I'm in a better, safer place now that I can just pick up and move on. That I can just automatically change and be better. They assume that I'll just be able to turn off the memories and suddenly be OKAY.

I can't. I won't. These aren't something that I can just forget and be one hundred and ten percent okay one day out of the blue. I don't think they ever will be. 

When you've experienced situations like the ones I've been through - looking back isn't easy. It's hard. It's a mess of tears and it's ugly. It takes a lot to go back there, and I'm there a lot because it's brought me back to where I am today. The truth is: I still struggle. Every day. Every day is a new challenge to face, a new day to push through.

There are a lot of things I've never talked about with a lot of people. Not because I don't trust them, but because what I've been through is hard enough to even think about myself, much less completely open up and talk to them about everything.

I've read three books that really challenged me and made me think. They made me cry, they made me remember and they made me think about what I've gone through to get to where I am today. IF YOU STAY by Courtney Cole, IN HONOR by Jessi Kirby and my most recent read - IF YOU FIND ME by Emily Murdoch.

Each of these books has touched a part of me in some way, deep down. They've uncovered memories, challenged me to face my past and open up to a select few. They've challenged me to realize how far I've come and have reminded me that I'm not alone, even their characters have experienced some of what I have.

In the darkest of days, that is what calms me. It's what encourages me to remember that I'm going to be okay, that when things get bad - to take a deep breath and remember how far I've come. Those three books have forced me to take a closer look at where I've been and really pushed me to start to heal - very, so very slowly.

I simply don't have enough words to thank each of these authors. It's been a long, hard journey to get to where I am today but with these three books - I can finally feel like I can face these things, to open up and to most importantly to realize that "Hey, this is me. This is what I've been through." I haven't really been able to do that until this past year and with each of these three books, I've been able to do that more and more.

Thank you for the stories and your characters who have been where I've been, to help me remember and trust enough to get this all out. It's a journey I have been needing for years now and as scary as it is to remember, and to open up - I know that it is something I need to do. I need to do this for myself in order to process my experiences and be able to begin to heal in some small way.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Review: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Ask the Passengers is one of the most recent books I've read this year (I've got a stack of books I want to read and it just keeps growing and growing).

I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this book at this time in my life. I came out about six years ago, and it was easily the most traumatic experience in my entire life. I'm not exaggerating that point. I still have nightmares about the experience and how I was treated, the backlash, the comments and the hate.

When I stumbled across this book, I knew it was the right book at the right time - you know, one of those books that comes into your life at the perfect moment and leaves a lasting impact.

I felt that I was right along with Astrid on her journey. I knew what she was feeling because I had been there. I knew how much it hurt, I knew the level of confusion, I knew the fear.

There were a couple of quotes in the book that hit me, and hit me hard - as if I had spoken them myself - quotes that I knew exactly how she felt in that moment because I had been there. I am there.

For anyone who is looking for a good contemporary read, this is it. This book touched me in ways that I can't even begin to explain. I'll leave you with these two quotes..

"I see what you're trying to say. But you're wrong. I mean, when did you first know you were gay? And did you tell anyone on that first day? Who is anyone to tell me when to talk about something so personal?"

"And if any of you have a problem with any of it, then it's your problem. Being gay is hard enough without having to worry about your family being weird about it."
So, a big, amazing, THANK YOU to A.S. King who wrote this amazing book that in many ways helped me heal and really discover who I am. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

2013, Here I Come.

Well, my plans to blog at least once a week in 2013 had been kicked to the curb as I've spent most of the year so far really sick. Chances are, if I am not working - I am in bed resting. I had a chest cold, then went back to work and came down with the flu two days later. That has turned into a sinus infection and bronchitis, which I am still working on recovering from. 

I'd like to say that it has given me plenty of time to read, but I'm doing a lot of sleeping, still. I hate it, but now that I am up and moving - reading is back on my priority list! 

So far this year I've read two books and have started two more:
1. Time Between Us 
2. Through the Ever Night
3. Crossed (started, need to finish)
4. Ask the Passengers (started, need to finish)

Class also started so I've got homework on my plate as well.

Some goals for the new year:
1. Read 75 books. 
2. Blog for ME - don't feel rushed or pressured to blog, just blog when I can and what I feel like blogging about. It may not be "book" related, but I do plan to write about day to day life, and of course - books and reading. 
3. Try to write more reviews - maybe not a review of everything I read, but the ones that stuck with me, had an impact on me or really made me think. They won't be huge and long reviews, but I'd like to review more books and spread the word. 
4. Most importantly, have fun.