Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Musing (31) - Starting Over (Finding Myself Again Part 11)

Starting over is not easy to do. No one would look forward to it, or enjoy it. It is literally one of the hardest things a person can do. Leaving what they have, and know behind, to start fresh. You start over with nothing - or next to nothing. You have to clean your slate and start again. That means you have to fight to find yourself, to support yourself, to dig yourself out from where you were.

Starting over is hard. So hard. And so much work. And when I started over I was about to have a baby. Talk about stress.

It was a really rough time. I was scared all the time, that I wasn't going to be able to make it on my own, that I didn't know who I was without him, that I wouldn't survive, that he would find me, that I would disappoint my child, that we would have to go without and struggle to constantly get by.
There were so many things that weighed heavy on mind. So many things that threatened to swallow me up, so ensure I failed, to break me.

It was the biggest struggle I have ever had to face in my life, filled with so many emotions, all the fear, the unknown, the instability. I was at the bottom, and I didn't know if I could make it back to the top when I couldn't even see it.

It was a really emotional time for me, I was given the chance to do some self reflection, and man I definitely didn't like the answers and thoughts I was coming up with. I practically hated myself for what I had put myself through, the situation I was in, and what I was bringing my son into.

It was a very dark time for me. VERY dark and unhappy. I was not in a good place.

There is no manual to help you, no step by step instructions, nothing that can help guide you through it. The advice of others can only go so far, or help so much. But the support of them is and was fundamental to the life I was trying to life, the betterment I wanted to achieve. The safety and stability I wanted for my son. Without that support I probably wouldn't have put my big girl panties on, and gotten to work!

I started over with little to nothing. A few things in storage, a new baby, and little to no income. I spent time at a women's shelter, before finally finding an apartment that I thought could be home - until he found us. And an emergency move was needed.

I lost more things in that move, it was like the 6 months I spent trying to build a life and a home hadn't even happened. It's taken me years to get stable, to get my house in order, to sort out my feelings, and to start living my life again. It's taken me 8 years to accept the decisions I'd made, to come to terms with the life I am leading now, and the life that I left behind.

It's taken me 8 years to fight my demons, to stop hating myself, to stop doubting myself and second guessing myself, to accept what life has to offer me.

It's taken me 8 years to enjoy the little things, to stop stressing over everything -especially those things that I have no control over.

It's taken me 8 years to fully enjoy my precious time with my son, to enjoy the little moments, to enjoy the world and the life that I have.

It has taken me 8 years to breathe easier, to feel stronger, and to believe in myself. To try new things, enjoy new opportunities, and make changes in my life I was to afraid to make before.

It has taken 8 years of ups and downs, loss and gains, heartache, and many lessons to trust again, to love again, to believe in myself again, to be me again.

Starting over is hard. But in the end, I became a better me. A stronger, more determined me. A me that I like, that I'm willing to mold into something better, to growth with and to accept no matter what.

I know I'm far from perfect, and I know that I would not be the person that I am now if I hadn't made certain decision in my life. Had I not had the experiences I went through. Had I not suffered and persevered.

I finally free, confident and happy.

I finally like the me that I have become.  I don't regret the choices I made in the past, the situations I was in, the struggles I faced. I am a better person, and mother, because of them.

I am strong. I am me.

And I wouldn't change what I have now for anything in the world.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review - Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead

Image and Synopsis from
Title: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Razorbill
Published: December 31, 2013
Source: Purchased

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires--the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, where vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be prepare for a life fraught with danger. Rose and Lissa must navigate their treacherous world and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever. But soon Rose finds herself gripped by temptation of forbidden love, leaving Lissa exposed to Strigoi attack.... Now she must choose between the best friend she lives for, and the man she can't live without.

My Thoughts:

Admittedly, I had never even  head of this series, or the movie being made based on it, until about a week before the movies release date. And impulsively on a recommendation by a friend or two, I went and bought myself the WHOLE boxed set. Not just book 1, nope, but the whole set. And I immediately pushed everything off my TBR pile, to throw this on top and read it before the movie came out. I would like to say that I am pleasantly surprised by this book, but that's not exactly how it goes with this one. After reading the blurb, and getting high praise from friends, I had a feeling I was just going to be into this book, and I totally was.

Many people think "Oh great. Another  teen vampire book.", and many might be right about that. But, this book was just as individual as so many other Vampire novels I have read before. With a genre that seems to be oversaturated with books and movies, and no shortage of people willing to read and watch them, it is hard to find something that is individual enough to stand out among the masses and Vampire Academy does just that!

With it's extremely well developed and deeply created historic roots, this book manages to bring to life a new world of vampires, a new fight between good and evil, new love, new loss, and new adventures. With intricately woven family tress and royal blood lines, excellently developed characters and back stories, defining barriers between good and evil, and a whole magical race of protectors, Richelle Mead has managed to make this series stand out among so many others.

Richelle Mead definitely has a way with words, as is evident by the amazing story telling she has managed to accomplish in this book. Her world building skills, both relating to a modern day setting, and a newly created Vampire world (or Academy) filled with magic and darkness and danger is outstanding. Definitely an element that will lure you in and get you hooked immediately! I loved how she incorporated "traditional" vampire folklore, such as sun sensitivity and death by a stake to the heart, into a whole new world of Vampire. This book is filled with such new elements and a different take on the world of vampires it drips with such possibilities, without taking anything away from the storyline.

The characters in this book are so thought out and extremely well planned, with deep back stories. It was a pleasure to see such developed characters, interacting in such deep ways that bring both the realistic human aspect of a character like these together so closely with the mythical and supernatural aspect of the vampire. Character interaction in this book was fluid, defined, and helped to propel the story, and not a means to fill time or pull back another layer of the plot. The character growth through the book happens in leaps and bounds for some characters, and inch by inch for others. I loved that by the end of the book each character introduced had grown, or pulled back another layer of themselves.

Wonderfully written, packed with danger and suspense, amazingly colorful characters, and a solid plot line. It's one of the better Teen Vampire books I've read in a long time!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Review -Grace Doll by Jennifer Laurens

Image and Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Title: Grace Doll
Author: Jennifer Laurens
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Format: Kindle
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing
Published: August 20, 2012
Source: Publisher

Grace Doll had everything a girl could want: Fame. Fortune. Beauty. Everything except her freedom. So when a powerful movie producer forces an experimental treatment on Grace--one that's purported to make beauty immortal--she stages her own death to escape him. With the help of trusted friends, Grace slips into hiding. She's forever flawless. Forever young, and forever pursued by her past. But when a stranger arrives on her doorstep, holding the key to a life she thought she'd left behind, Grace must decide between the safety she's known...and embracing the role she was born to play.

My Thoughts:
Grace Doll is an unexpected, and surprisingly different kind of read. Centered around a mysterious past, that quickly converges with a dangerous present. Grace Doll will have you wondering and guessing throughout.

Jennifer Laurens brings out the characters strengths and insecurities throughout this story. Each character, though distinct and individual is delicately shrouded in mystery and an instinct for survival.  She does an amazing job making all the characters hold the right amounts of innocents, angst, drive, compassion (or evil) and relatable, even in the strangest of settings and discoveries.

The dialogue is unique, yet realistic. Creating an almost instant bond with the main characters and elevates the foes to a sinister and devilish level. It slowly helps to pull back the curtains on the past, fuses the past and present together, and forges the pathway into the future for the main characters. Though a lot of the story is revealed through the dialogue it doesn't take away from the story line, or the suspense at all. 

The story isn't laden with sexual tension, and isn't filled with action packed scene, or extreme dangers but it is sprinkled with undertones of all of these elements, in a way that elevates the troubles the main characters go through, and what they have to over come. The fear the characters have, the unknown past, the mysterious current danger, and the undeniable needs of man and woman is written in quite well as the story moves along. It doesn't over power the main story, or the plot, and is included in what I find to be just the right way, in all the right spots, giving you a glimmer of hope for the characters to overcome what may lay ahead.

Jennifer Laurens does an great job bringing to life such a creative storyline! With a continually moving plot line, well placed twists and turns, just the right amount of danger and obstacles, plus a dash of science fiction, this book is definitely unique and refreshingly different from many of the novels out there today.

With a little more world building, descriptive word use, and a deeper look into the feelings of the characters to connect readers in a deeper way, this book could be so much more than it already is.


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Review - Escape in You by Rachel Schurig

Image and Synopsis from
Title: Escape In You
Author: Rachel Schurig
Format: Kindle
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Unkown
Published: October 13th 2013
Source: NetGalley

Jet Taylor is the quintessential bad boy. A womanizer. A fighter. Dangerous. The type of guy most girls do their best to avoid. But Zoe Janes is no saint herself. In fact, she sees in Jet the perfect opportunity to distract herself from her responsibilities at home and the mistakes that keep her trapped there. He’s gorgeous, likes to party, and is clearly only interested in having fun—just like Zoe.

The more time they spend together, the harder it is for Zoe to stick to her “fun only” mantra. Jet is getting under her skin, making her believe things could actually be different. She knows they’re both trapped by the sins of their past but Jet is starting to make her think freedom might actually be possible.

And that makes him the most dangerous boy of all.

My Thoughts:

Escape in You is an extremely emotional read, full of rollercoaster rides with ultimate highs and extreme lows. The story revolves around two very sad and seriously damaged main characters, who are both fighting for a future while running from themselves and their past. With heavy emotional laden arcs, to go with the character development, and the plot lines, this is not a book you can take lightly in anyway.

So I would suggest that if you are not one for dark, rainy day, depressing stories this read isn't for you. BUT if these are books you like reading, and getting into. If you like all the feels they give you, shedding a tear and getting emotionally involved in the characters in the books, don't forget your Kleenex.

That being said, I particularly enjoyed this story. Although I have not been through many of the same things they had, I did relate to these characters in many ways. The fears they had, the emotions they tried to hide, the pain they suffered. I've had similar times in my life like these characters, and I was glad to see how raw these emotions were, how well displayed in writing they became, how real and powerful they were. I have seen many authors write about damaged characters, tortured and hidden pasts, just to fall shy of the realistic and relatable balance that is often hard to meet. I applauded Rachel for diving in to such a hard emotional state to successfully portray! I applaud her again for getting so much of it realistic and right.

Although I didn't immediately fall in love with this book, or these characters, I learned to love them as time went on, as the chapters went on, the characters were slowly revealed and all their layers were pulled back, I got to understand them in a complete way. The character development and growth in this book was phenomenal, especially since these characters were pretty in-depth and well thought out from the very beginning!

This book was not a fast paced, quick read. This book is a gut wrenching, emotional rollercoaster that will leave you with a severe case of the blues by the end. But you with fall in love with these two characters none-the-less. You will, hurt with them, fell their pain and loss. You will fall in love with their hope, their strength and their love.

I highly suggest you hunker down with Kleenex, coffee and a whole lot of chocolate when you pick this one up!