23 February 2015

Sister India by Peggy Payne: Book Review & Giveaway

sister india book peggy payne 

Reading Sister India by Peggy Payne is like going on a vacation. That is, a quirky vacation that you can't quite come back from.

If you're expecting something like Eat, Pray, Love...well, then I would stay away from this pick! However, that's not to say you should stray from this book altogether. In fact, I found Sister India to be extremely refreshing. I don't know about you, but for me, that's something I find important when scanning for a book to read. 

Peggy Payne's well-written book easily captured my attention the whole way through. We tend to say that phrase a lot, and it isn't always true, but this adventurous, mysterious book with great great great characters is guaranteed to entice you from the beginning. Trust me; you'll see. 

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Now, if YOU would like to win this captivating book for yourself (with the choice of a physical or digital copy), just enter in the Rafflecopter below! (This is the first giveaway featured on my blog, so if you find anything wrong, please give me a headsup! I would really appreciate it.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take in mind that the prize will be sent out by the sponsor--I am not responsible for shipping. You must be over 18 in order to enter. The giveaway is only open to US residents. One entry per person per household. Winner will be chosen randomly.

15 February 2015

Where's That Girl?

I know I haven't been gone too terribly long from my blog, but I do know I won't be back too terribly soon.

There has been some grief surrounding me, my family, and my friends recently. Loss is never easy to deal with, and it never gets any easier. My father especially has had a rough time as of late, and it has been challenging watching him try to get by and to try to understand what has happened. If you pray, I would really love for you to pray for my family right now.

On top of everything, we've all been incredibly ill. Which, you can imagine, is not going too well with me since I'm already sick.

I'll still be on twitter every now and then, and my e-mail is always open, but I do not know when I'll actually get back to my blogging schedule. There's just been a cloud of depression hanging above my head lately.

I will say I've had one good thing happen: we got a pup.
Her name is Paisley, she's adorable, and she's half Yorkie/half Shih Tzu.
I'll leave you guys a picture of her cute face since this post has been nothing but sadness. She will alleviate all of that, trust me.

shorkie pup puppy yoshi paisley

26 January 2015

Wordful Wednesday//Tired Bones

(Edit: Yes, I just realized it's Monday but oh my gosh, oh well!)


There it is. Just one of my many symptoms, yet one of the worst.

And not just any fatigue--doctors who understand Lyme disease usually list it as severe fatigue.
Can you imagine being so tired that you wake up in the morning and have to decide between putting on makeup or eating? And you have to make a choice like this every day. Multiple times. Until eventually there are no more choices to make because you're so dead tired you just collapse.

Fatigue from a chronically ill person's perspective means saying, "I can't" to so many social and scheduled events that your head spins. It means sleep is not the cure. It means "stuck in bed" is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

When you are healthy and catch a cold, rest is imperative to restoring you back to your original health. Right? I mean I do still remember being quite healthy, sitting on the couch watching soap operas on TV with my mom's chicken noodle soup, nodding off. When I woke up from a nap, I felt better! I remember that. That's definitely noteworthy. It's so much different with a chronic illness; we can't seem to catch up fast enough to that restoration point. We're too sick. We're run down.

I feel like I never have enough time for my body and mind to rest enough. If you notice, lately, I haven't been posting a lot on the blog. It's sad because I'm constantly thinking about all these blog posts I could write about...but I just can't afford to put forth my energy on them at the time. (Sad but true.) It's also hard labeling myself as a writer yet finding myself too tired to write. Will my career advance? Was college all for nothing? You can see why my anxiety levels are so high.

I know I've mentioned this before, but I get kind of angry towards those who say I'm so lucky to have the time to nap. WHAT THE WHAT? I have the time because I'm sick and unable to work. I nap because it is essential. My body has to take a nap every day just like it has to go to the bathroom (graphic!). It's just something my body does, and without it, I'd be an even bigger mess.

So yes, I'm a mess. I'm tired and I'm sad and I'm frustrated and I want to be the girl who can go out and have fun and stay up with friends, having the night of her life. I want to travel and see the world and not have to worry about how far I have to walk or if I have to schedule the day around my nap(s). I hate to say it, but I'm tired of being tired.

I just sit in bed with my pile of pillows, feeling like a waste of space. After all the zombie books and films that I took interest in, I finally became one.

17 January 2015

{Widened Horizons}

It's just a quiet day here in North Carolina for me.
Watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a hot mug of Chamomile Mint tea and a lovely candle burning in the corner.
I hope you are having a nice, peaceful, restful day as well.

To make it even better, here's some great finds for you to lock your eyes onto.

If you've been in the drinking mood like I have, you know how important it is to have a drinking glass that's in good spirits ;)
I found this "rules of drinking" cocktail glass from Urban Outfitters, and it just tickled my funny bone so of course I had to share!
drinking glass spirit funny chaser

I'm in desperate need of a better way to organize my notepads, magazines, and other odds and ends. This vintage organizer would be perfect for me, dontcha think?
organizer mod vintage magazine holder

I really do adore the whole "stamped silverware" fad. Especially when it involves spoons and tea.
I think something like this chai-inspired spoon would be a perfect gift, too!
chai teaspoon spoon tea stamped

Now this, this ring is just unbelievably gorgeous! I love how unique it is. The crocheted piece is something I really dig.
ring crocheted gemstone

This geometric wooden iPhone case uses colors that match my style and that also just look rad. Definitely going in for the buy on this one.
iphone wood wooden case purple abstract

This week's owl find is a rolling pin engraved with an owl pattern! It doesn't get much better than that when it comes to kitchen utensils.
owl embossed engraved pattern rolling pin

Something that is really important to me this year and something that I believe everyone should know:
no blame inspiration motivation

 Quick Links:

secret room sun room

Have a good one!

14 January 2015

Book Review: Dark Prayer by Natasha Mostert

dark prayer book review image 

*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads description (x): 
Eloise Blake is on the run from a life she can no longer remember. And from a killer who will stop at nothing to protect a secret as old as time. From the award-winning author of SEASON OF THE WITCH comes a thriller about memory, identity and the murderous consequences of a quest gone wrong.

My rating:  4 out of 5 hoots

four stars hoots owl review 

 As you can see in my earlier post, I decided this year to take on the "Around the World" reading challenge where I track on a map the places characters in the books I read travel to. It was so exciting visually spotting where everyone went to, not just imagining it! I can't wait to do this with every book I read this year. 

Reading Dark Prayer, an enthralling novel all about memory (and parkour), was a stretch for me at first. I thought the parkour segments were going to be too far out of my comfort zone because I wouldn't understand half of what was being explained, and I figured from what was first detailed that the memory bits would leave me feeling fatigued because the author would go too in-depth.

What I came to realize was that the book was actually surprisingly easy to read. Easier than I would've thought, by far. And that's what made it so enjoyable. Although this is the first book I've read for 2015, it has already made me want to read more for the year because everything just flowed so well and was so well-written. There were a great deal of quotes that I wanted to...quote...

quote memory soul book dark prayer image

 I came to learn a lot about parkour, or free running, and like I said on my Facebook page, reading this book made me nostalgic for my high school days when I saw a few buddies try it out. My friends, of course, were just beginners compared to these characters. Jungles, the name of the most skilled free runner of the bunch, is pretty much a ninja, and the author does a great job of describing how he (and the others) ran and climbed and jumped. But that doesn't mean the author of Dark Prayer treats you like you're automatically knowledgeable in the ways of imagining someone free running. Instead, Natasha Mostert lays the sport of parkour out in a way that is understandable to us amateurs without being condescending to those who actually have a good grip on the skill.

You could tell extensive research had to be done--both in parkour and in psychological matters. There's even a link to a real article in the Kindle edition of the book. In college, I minored in Psychology and volunteered at a traumatic brain injury rehab facility. So I like to think I know a fair amount about memory (and the absence of it). At least, I'm interested in it. The way Mostert incorporated aspects of psychology--especially regarding memory and trauma--into the life of main character Eloise was fascinating because it was realistic. However, I never once felt like I was reading a case story or out of a textbook when it came to these points.

Our main character is caught in a fugue state--this is what has caused her to wipe out all memory loss of her former and original self, Jenilee Gray, and to establish a new self, Eloise Blake. She has created new memories for herself. A new mother, a new father--circus performers. A new name. A new identity. If you think about my previous book review of Stella Bain and to PTSD, this almost sounds similar, doesn't it? Well, both do revolve around memory.

I've often thought how neat it would be to create a new identity for myself, leaving my past behind. But I wouldn't be me; I want my memories, all of them. The problem with Eloise, however, is that she did not consciously form for herself a new identity. And maybe there's something else going on behind the scenes. Gasp.

Now, there is another main character--named Jack--that I haven't meant to leave out, necessarily, but I just didn't find him to be that appealing. He wasn't near as interesting to me as Eloise, at least. But I can't leave out his name because 1) He's important to the story. And 2) I'm about to make a joke about him.

If you do decide to read this book, you'll be surprised at how fast you fly through it.
If you don't, then at least take these pointers I learned along my reading journey:

  • Forming a science group based in part on Aleister Crowley's own teachings is a good sign of what you should never do. 
  • If you go to a house where someone just called you from and the front door is wide open with no one answering your voice, please back your rear end up, get into your car, and put it in drive. 
  • If nightmares always seem to end with someone getting scratch marks across the face in books like these, shouldn't someone just trim their nails? 
  • Lastly, I don't know about you, but if I was a free runner and my name was Jack, I would call myself "Jack-B-Quick," wouldn't you?? Cue laughter.  (Okay, less of a caution and more of a joke, but still...)
And on that good note, I'm off to read another book on this nasty, chilly day!