Books

Sleepless Again – 24 Hour Readathon

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Everyone in the book community lately has been taking part in these really great read-a-thons. Whether they take a week, or the really crazy 24 hour ones, the book community has been thoroughly enjoying these. For me it’s been fun watching the vlogs and updates but I haven’t had the opportunity to participate in any of these lately. I am just looking out at all the kids playing and having fun.

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Then I realized I can just have my own personal readathon! I mean why not? I’ve been a little stressed out lately and even got really damn sick there for two weeks, and I want a chunk of time where I can sit down and read without interruptions. Reading has always helped me stay calm, and I think something like this would be great for me. So that is exactly what I am going to do! I will be holding my very own 24 hour readathon.

But Joana, what does that even mean? Well hold onto your balls or your books I guess…

The Sleepless Again Readathon (name inspired by my fave band In Flames) will be starting Saturday August 5th at 10:00am and finishing on Sunday the 6th at 10:00am. In that 24 hour time period I will be reading as much as I possibly can.

coffeeWhat about sleep? Well sleep is optional. Depending how I feel I may sleep, or I may be a champ of irresponsibility and marathon the shit out of this. Plus that’s why I will be drinking tons of coffee. I know, I make healthy decisions, but why else was coffee invented?

 

Can I join the Sleepless Again 24 Hour Readathon?

Of course! The more the merrier I would say! Make sure to follow me on Twitter where I will be posting about my misadventures and possibly some reading sprints! This isn’t about reading as many books as possible, it’s about having a chunk of time for yourself to read something you’ve been meaning to read. Of course you can sleep in between, and just read as much as you can. Not everyone is a speed reader not everyone has a history of insomnia (raises hand) and can stay awake for 24 hours straight. This is about you and that book you’ve been eyeing on your shelf, it’s about relaxing and enjoying some peace of mind.

Also I live in Germany and will be starting it 10am my time, but you will just start it 10am your time. Don’t get up at 4am to start reading, I don’t think that will end well.

Things you might want to have around:

  • Obviously, the book(s) you plan to read
  • WATER!
  • Snacks
  • Coffee or Tea
  • WATER!
  • Comfortable pillow or blanket if it’s not too hot where you are.

NOTE: Make sure you eat and have plenty of water. DO NOT FORCE yourself to stay awake if you cannot handle it. I take no responsibility for your tiredness or headaches the next day. I know what my body can handle. Know what yours can handle too and don’t go beyond that.

Other than that I am really excited to be doing this for myself! Join me. Comment down below if you’d like to take part!!

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Metal

One More Light – RIP Chester Bennington

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It’s a strange feeling to hear that another musician has taken his own life. Stranger still because for my generation Linkin Park helped so many of us through so many rough patches in our own lives. Hearing about Chester Bennington’s death struck me quite hard. As a teen, the words he sang helped me so much. I was a quiet and awkward teenager. I didn’t quite stand out or fit in. I had my small group of trustworthy friends, but always felt like I was battling myself mentally to stay afloat. His voice and his words made me feel less alone, and isn’t that what we are all looking for?

“Because I can’t hold on when I’m stretched so thin
I make the right moves but I’m lost within”

As a teen these and so many other words comforted me. I don’t find it poetic that the musicians that seem to make us feel better, have a lot of demons within. The darkness in the words has to come from somewhere. It’s sad to think that while his band and his voice brought forth a light for all of us, that the same light couldn’t seem to find a place to shine within himself.

“I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there,
Become so tired, so much more aware.
I’m becoming this, all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you.”

I know the struggles with depression and anxiety well. Linkin Park and many other bands entered my life when I was beginning to show these signs. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I know these different bands not only helped me through, but they toughened me up. Granted many lyrics may seem dark, but they mirror so many feelings within. When you hear it, and sing along to it, you lose some of what’s weighing down your soul. I know I am not alone in this.

Sadly I haven’t been able to listen to Linkin Park since yesterday, and I haven’t been able to listen to anything by Chris Cornell since he passed away either. It’s hard. Those voices are silenced forever, and we all know they had so much left to give.

I know many people who are broken because of Chester taking his own life, and losing that battle he helped us fight, but we must stand strong and help one another. Use his music to keep moving. Life is precious and while it seems hard some days, we have to keep going. If you are having a hard time, please talk to someone. I know my readers are from all over the world so please find your country’s suicide hotline here: http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

You matter, you are loved, and you have so much to live for. We all hope that Chester found peace. He may have lost his battle, but you don’t have to. Talk to someone. Save yourself.

This was hard to write, and even harder to write down the correct words. I hope you can understand where I am coming from. I won’t go on the subject of people calling him coward or making jokes, because those people are scum, and don’t need any more attention.

RIP Chester Bennington.

 

Games

Thoughts I Had While Playing Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy

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When the first Crash Bandicoot game was released I was 10 years old. HEY! Wait don’t go googling how old I am!! Anyway, My older brother and I shared the PS1. Well I say shared but by that I mean he played it all the time, and I had to bug him into insanity to let me play. Crash Bandicoot was my game!! I loved it like I loved Super Mario and Donkey Kong Country which really coming from me is high praise. It was fun, and worthy of praise.

So when the news was released that they would be remastering the three Crash Bandicoot games I loved as a kid, my heart fluttered just like all the butterflies in my stomach. I was so excited. Excitement took over even on release day where I decided to run to Gamestop at my lunch break to exchange some crappy games I never play to get the N.Sane Trilogy. I couldn’t wait, because my inner child was just screaming “run like the wind and get the game” Which was good that I went at lunch time because I was also able to preorder a SNES CLASSIC MINI–a story for another time.

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I get home after work, mind you it’s a Friday so TGIF and all that shit. I put the game in…and here we go!! The intro starts and it shows old style crates and crash. Then they go through a little machine and BOOM remastered. A jumble of thoughts took over “look at my baby, he’s so cute. Is he cross eyed?! never noticed, doesn’t matter still a cutie! This is going to be fun! So easy but fun!”

First level. I am excited. So Iconic. Such nice graphics–because they really did a great job at cleaning up the game. Then we move along. The new graphics are throwing my perspective a little off. “OH THAT’S A GIANT HOLE, miscalculated that shit.” Continue on. “Haha rolling rocks, this is a piece of cake.” frustration begins to build. “Okay…slow and steady wins the race Joana.” SPLAT, Crash dies again. While slightly frustrated I still felt pretty happy, and still having fun. Then came the Native Fortress level.

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Do any of you remember this level? Where you have wooden platforms you need to spin to climb upwards towards your goal? Then you need to jump on a single box mid air to make it up top, but one wrong move and SPLAT you’re at the bottom again, having to spin and jump on these evil fucking platforms. Then you think okay those are enough obstacles. NAH. Here’s some slippery algae, some totem poles with spikes, and bowls with fire that you have to bounce on to get to the other side, but you better time that properly or you will get a spike in your ass and a burn on your face while sliding down a disgusting version of a slip n slide.

I died so many times!! I kept losing. I kept getting close with my very last life only to be burned to a crisp. I was getting so frustrated that I went online. I was not alone. Hundreds of people on twitter were yelling into the void about this level. Native Fortress is the video equivalent of a horrible fucking Monday. I HATE that level. I finally beat it, and then immediately turned the game off. Now it’s not to say that I won’t be playing it again. I will, but currently I don’t have much time for it. Still I was so frustrated with that level that I thought maybe I was remembering my love for this game incorrectly. Nostalgia and the hardcore trend of it at the moment is warping my brain into remembering things differently. I AM CRAZY, if I thought this was fun as a child.

Anyway. I am happy this is in my collection, and If I play again and have more horrible experiences I will update you on how I almost threw my remote at my tv. Till then, tell me, Have you played Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy? Did you break anything around you while playing? Let me know below!

Coffee & Rant

Life & Blog Update

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Hellooooooo my precious geeks!

I know it’s been awhile since I have updated this blog and I have reasons so let’s jump right into those.

LIFE:  In February I was working an internship for a mobile games company that shall remain nameless. They screwed me over a couple of times mainly the fact that I went in for a full time contract( interview process was all about full time ) but they only offered me an internship in the end paying me peanuts for 40 hours per week. (they did this to a few people) I ignored my gut instinct and took it anyway. In a way I am glad I did because I met some lovely people, and 3 out of the 5 co founders were professional and cool. Then they told me my work was great but that I was too straightforward. Yet they let my coworker go because she was too shy and quiet.

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Needless to say it aggravated me. Aggravation tends to push my anxiety sky high. I am glad that is over but felt the need to put it here because it needed to be said. The aggravation they made me feel exhausted my brain completely. I barely read any books during that time. It’s a company that I feel has a lot of potential, but only if they start to learn from their mistakes.

To the present:  I found such a wonderful company to work for. Not only have they been kind and understanding, they are not afraid to take criticism. I feel for companies to move forward, you need to listen to your employees, and have them listen to you. Mutual respect and Real genuine communication is what will allow everyone to succeed. I enjoy the work I am doing, and am looking forward to helping them move forward. My gut instinct says this is a good lot of people. I have been reading more, and I genuinely feel happy.

Writing: I changed some aspects of the novel I am writing so it’s been consuming quite a bit of my time. If you think writing a book is hard, wait till you have to edit it.

This Blog: For a while now, I have been a little unhappy with the way I do things here. I also feel I have outgrown the process of using WordPress.com and will be moving it over to .ORG. I want more control over my blog in many aspects that this WordPress doesn’t quite allow. It’s a good starting point for anyone who’s new to blogging, but I am confident now that I can move it. SO this means for the next couple of weeks you may once again not see much happening here. My apologies in advance, but my idea is to better this for myself and for everyone! So don’t go anywhere and please stay tuned!

NOTE: to those of you who are waiting for me to review your books, those reviews are coming, I PROMISE!!

See you soon GEEKS!!

 

Book Reviews

Hunted – Book Review

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I have said it before and I will probably say it once again, but I am a little tired of the fairy tale retelling trend in Young Adult. Mostly because I think sometimes the books have NOTHING in common with the original fairy tales :: cough :: A Court of Thorns and Roses :: Cough:: I have been disappointed one too many times and thought I was completely over the retelling craze. Then I heard about Hunted by Meagan Spooner. I haven’t read anything else by Meagan Spooner, but this had me intrigued. Hunted felt closer to the real Beauty and the Beast fairy tale than any others I have checked out, so I decided to get it and read it.

I was so pleasantly surprised. I for one loved the fact that the main character Yeva, or as she’s also known in the story as Beauty, was incredibly close with her sisters. It was a nice change of pace to not see every female character at each other’s throats all the time. When their father goes missing in the woods, Yeva takes it upon herself to set off into a forest that she knows deep within her bones has secrets and possibly even magic. Sticking true to the tale of Beauty and the Beast, she becomes the Beast’s prisoner…or does she? She begins to question many things, including the beast’s intentions.

That was part of the magic that made me love this story so much. Anyone who loves the original will have an idea or glimpse into what happens next on Yeva’s journey, but Spooner was able to give it a twist of her own, and it had me hooked right away. Meagan Spooner also has a wonderful way with words. Hunted is the Beauty and the Beast retelling I have been waiting for.

I highly recommend this novel if you’re looking for a fairy tale retelling to read.

I gave this one four out of five Metal Horns.

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Books

May Reading Wrap Up

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In the month of May I read a total of 10 books. Yup, I was a little sad in the month of May and had some free time to really read whatever I wanted. So let’s go through it.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

EveryHeartI really enjoyed the idea behind this novel. It deals with all those children that went through magical portals into other lands but don’t know how to live within the real world anymore when they return. It’s a little gruesome in some parts but I really liked the writing. It left me wanting more, and the shortness of this novel is what made it lose a star. I really wish it had been a full book.

I gave this book four out of five metal horns!

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Grit by Gillian French 

Grit was a good little mystery novel following Darcy, her cousin, and her sister as they work in blueberry fields during the summer. GRITThe story includes the mystery behind her best friend who went missing the summer before. It has a wonderful cast of characters, but I had some issues with the writing. All in all it was still a good story, and if you’re looking for a YA mystery then give this one a shot. I have a full non-spoiler review on my blog as well.

I gave Grit three out of five metal horns:

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The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

One thing you should know about me is that I absolutely cannot stand Cassandra Clare. 23299980I will leave it at that because I know so many of you love her. I gave this book a chance because I have been looking for a fun middle grade read. This was fun, but not a fresh idea (surprise surprise) I also didn’t care too much for any of the characters. I tried to focus on the fact that someone other than Clare also worked on this novel because if I focus too much on Clare I realize just how much she doesn’t have a single creative thought that is all her own.

I gave this three out five metal horns.

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The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

I continued onto the second book in the series hoping it would get better but I was in for 13612962a rude awakening. This second book felt like such a blatant copy of Harry Potter (flying car included) that it made me cringe the entire time I was reading it. Once again proving that anything written by Clare is just not for me. I despised this second book with every fiber in my body. I have read many magic school books that have received great reviews from me (Black Magician Trilogy and The Name of the Wind) This isn’t a case of “you compare every Magic School book to HP” it’s a case of lazy writing.

ONE out of five metal horns for me

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Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb 

This was one of my absolute favorite reads this month! The world that Robin Hobb has 77197built is so fascinating and beautiful. This is the start to her massive series that is made up of a few different trilogies if I am not mistaken. The Farseer trilogy is the beginning of it all. It’s where you meet Fitz for the first time and become so engrossed in his life and story. I loved every page.

I gave this a full five out five metal horns!

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Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley &others

This graphic novel has been popping up all over the place in the book community. In snotgirlother words, it’s been really overhyped, and maybe that’s why I didn’t like it so much. The story follows Lottie who is famous online. She’s also vapid and shallow beyond belief, and I understand this is a flawed character but she irritated me and made the entire story less enjoyable. This story has some potential, so MAYBE I will continue it later on, but for now I am not that interested.

I gave this three out of five metal horns.

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How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh

This is not a self help book, but it is a wonderfully empowering book from a female 31202835who’s had to overcome her own issues and obstacles to reach the top. While some aspects of this novel were repetitive, I think Lilly Singh’s advice is coming from a place of love and experience. Her success didn’t happen over night, and she let’s you know that right from the beginning. Anyone who’s trying to follow their dreams should give this a shot.

I gave this four out of five metal horns

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Chew by John Layman

This graphic novel follows Tony Chu who is cibopathic, that basically means he gets chewpsychic impressions from what he eats, and as a detective he starts to eat bits of people to solve crimes. SOUND FAMILIAR? yea, to me it’s iZombie without the zombie factor. Chew is a great graphic novel on it’s own, but the idea isn’t fresh. It takes a pretty gruesome turn, and if you do not like really graphic stories with tons of blood and such I would keep away from this one.

I gave this four out of five metal horns.

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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I needed another mystery/thriller in my life this month so I picked up The Woman in Cabin10Cabin 10. In the story you follow Lo who is on a small cruise ship for a job assignment as a journalist. It is on this trip that she wakes in the middle of the night to screams and witnesses a body being thrown overboard. Or so she thinks? She is supposed to come off as an unreliable narrator and she certainly is, but I had the ending figured out about half way through, which took the fun out of the book.

I gave this three out of five metal horns.

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Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

This is the second book in the Farseer Trilogy and we now follow Fitz as he’s getting a bit RoyalAssassinolder. The political intrigue of this novel has grown a lot and had be hooked right from the start because I was so desperate to know what happened after the ending of the first novel. I have to admit that I am ashamed that it has taken me so long to become a Robin Hobb fan, but a fan I have definitely become. I have started the third in this trilogy now, and I can’t wait to read them all!!!

This was a five out of five metal horns for me

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That’s what I read in the month of May. Tell me what you read in May, or comment and leave links to your own wrap ups!

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The Mourning Song

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This is a fictional essay inspired by current events. If you are concerned about my mental state, I promise I am doing well. Inspiration strikes in weird ways, and I felt I needed to write this.

TRIGGER WARNING: This essay mentions depression and suicide. If these things have negative impacts on your mental state, please do not continue reading.

The Mourning Song 

© Joana F. Simoes 2017

In Honor and in memory of all those that gave us something to hold onto in our darkest moments, but could no longer fight for themselves. We miss you.

 

 It is not poetic this morning that the rain is coming down harder than it has all year. It is not romantic or cozy today that even with all the windows wide open, the clouds and the pouring rain aren’t allowing much light to shine through. I imagine this is what my head looks like right now. I want to let all the light and brightness to come in, but something just does not allow it. I would turn to my favorite singer’s voice and lyrics, but it’s too hard.

Last night as I scrolled through my phone, as one does to pass the time these days, I started to see little trickles of news that were less than appealing to me. Also not exactly a shocker at the moment, but it was something harder to believe. This had to be some kind of hoax. He could not be dead. As time passed it was harder to ignore. News agencies all around the world were reporting it now. He died. My heart turned to stone and instantly dropped out of my body.

People take a lot away from teens, and their emotions. They chalk it up to hormones, and body changes, but for some it’s deeper than that and their feelings still go ignored. This is why as a teen I turned to his music. His voice, his melodies, and his powerful words were the stable ground I had to walk on when everything else seemed to be crumbling underneath my feet. As an adult it was still a coping mechanism and the most powerful tool I had in my arsenal.

He died, because he lost his fight with depression. I don’t like to say he committed suicide. The only thing he committed was a life of putting forth strong and powerful music that somehow saved so many lives without him realizing it. The battle with depression is a hard and treacherous one. It deceives even the most pure souls into believing they have nothing left to give to this world. It will make a great day turn to dust in a split second, and you cannot reason with it, you cannot negotiate with it.

I am having a hard time this morning. I am ignoring my medication, which I should never do. I am ignoring all the things I have learned from my therapist about what I should be doing to get myself out of bed and into the day. He has left this big black hole in my soul, and I don’t know how to fill it. Am I worthy to be here if he was not? How many people in the world are feeling the exact same way?

People have been writing online that mourning a rockstar’s death when there are other important things happening in the world is a waste of time. I don’t accept that at all. If people knew or felt a quarter of what some of us feel when we hear a certain song or watch a movie that makes us laugh deeper than we have laughed in ages, they would get it. They would understand that not only do these people deserve to be mourned; they deserve respect, our love, and attention.

That was the moment that it hit me. Maybe he would no longer create music that could bring meaning to my dark days, but all the music he’s already created will always be a part of me. I am doing myself and his memory a disservice by ignoring all the steps forward I have taken, that his music had helped me make in the past.

I get up take my medicine. Give my depression the care and love that any other illness requires and demands.

I put on one of his records and let the words and music roll over me, blanket me in comfort. This is a song like no other, but today it is the mourning song.