writing

4am Anxiety

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It’s hard to put into words what it feels like when I can’t get my mind to just quiet down. To pace around our apartment at 3am like the ghost of Christmas past.

I move from the bed, to the desk chair, to the couch, and back to the bed. On heavy rotation, and more like a broken record I can’t seem to throw away. I close my eyes and the visions behind them play over and over like a silent film. Visions of things I have done or said long ago or things I have yet to do or say.

My eyes fly open and I decide I need some water. I drink and think that maybe it’s better if I just stay awake. If I am awake I am prepared for whatever the world has to throw at me. Asleep I’m vulnerable.

Then come the tears. I cry for no reason at all and sometimes for a million reasons all at the same time. It’s exhausting and exhilarating, it’s depressing and motivating. It’s something different every time.

My body is tired of course. My brain is well aware that I need sleep, but it’s too aware of everything else that I struggle with on a daily basis. I could list things that bother me. Things that trigger me to panic but some days that list will be empty and I will still feel it all building up deep within my bones. It’s a messed up spidey sense I never asked for.

I over think and underestimate just how much I can do. Some days I do nothing. I sleep and think and then sleep some more because it’s the only way I can keep the thoughts silenced.

I can conquer the world one day and barely lift a finger the next.

People don’t understand and people judge what they don’t understand.

Anxiety is not just a little feeling in the pit of your stomach. Depression is not just feeling sad.

It’s all consuming and tremendously frustrating. Your mind is a tangled mess and you spend all day trying to untangle it and you spend all night trying to think of why the tangles happen in the first place.

I write this as the clock strikes 4:00am and I can’t sleep because I wonder will the new day bring me more to worry about or will I be able to function properly?

And that generally sums up these feelings. I worry about worrying and it’s never ending.

But never say never.

Coffee & Rant

Always the Foreigner

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If you know me, then you know my story, or at least bits and pieces of it that I have allowed you to see. The other day something popped up on one of my many social media news feeds that inspired this post. I thought to myself, no matter where I go these days, I am a foreigner. It’s not really troublesome to me, but it’s unique and a bit interesting to say the least. Let me take you back.

486530_10150971845899142_1684528778_nI was born in Portugal in 1986. I lived there for the first four years of my life. The picture was taken in Portugal with my older brother, who looks like he’s sporting a semi-mullet in this. (Business in the FRONT, Party in the BACK!) When people ask me, I have to be honest and say that at this point in my life I don’t have that many recollections of my early childhood spent in that beautiful country. When I am actually physically there, I can sometimes sense something that I could never explain properly in words. All I know is that, this place where I have only spent a handful of days in, feels like home. The thing is that I also feel like a foreigner when I am there. I will come back to that soon.

So we moved to the USA, to New Jersey to be exact when I was four. We lived on a street that had tons of other Portuguese families and I very quickly made friends with the neighborhood kids. When I entered school, that was a different story. Halloween came around in Kindergarten, and my mom wasn’t all that sure what the hell Halloween was. I am sure someone gave her a half assed explanation, “It’s like carnival, but not.” Our neighbor kindly let me and my mom pick one of her kid’s old costumes, and what did we pick? A GOAT. goatWe thought it was funny, to be honest, I STILL think it’s funny. It just made me stand out like the little weirdo. Another little foreign kid whose family misunderstood what an American tradition was about. Didn’t we know that I was supposed to be a little princess, or a fairy, or a combination of the two? Or a Ghost Fairy Princess!!  Nah, I was a goat. weirdThis is just an example of how I always felt a little out of place in New Jersey. In NJ, I was the Portuguese girl. The one who’s family had a BBQ and there were sardines on the grill not burgers and hot dogs.  When I went to Portugal I was the American girl because well I had an accent, now that I am living in Germany…I just confuse the shit out of people.

“Can I see your Passport?”  Hands Portuguese Passport to them.

“I thought you were American.” I stare at them blinking slowly.

“Do you have an American Passport?” Sigh.

“NO. I am Portuguese. I Have a Portuguese Passport. I only had a green card in the USA but I handed that back. ” I explain.

“OH. It’s just that you sound American.” INSERT EYE ROLL

“Yes I spent most of my life there, but for all intents and purposes, I am Portuguese.”

I’ve had this conversation a few times, or some similar type of conversation about this here. Also there are those people who love to ask me this: “So how long are you here for?” ………… “I’ve been living here for five years.” ….”Are you staying?”…. I don’t know, CAN WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHERE I AM FROM AND WHERE THE FUCK I AM GOING?!

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For most of my life I have been a foreigner. I was a foreigner in the USA, in Portugal I was the American,but now I am the German, in Germany I am the American…no the Portuguese…no wait where Am I from again?

It’s not that I am having some kind of Identity crisis, all my experiences are making me who I am. A Passport doesn’t define much of anything in my eyes other than who’s most likely to get frisked at immigration when traveling to the USA. Still sometimes I do have to sit and wonder who I am, or where am I from? I never really know how to answer that question anymore, and really wish people could ask me something else.

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Always the foreigner.

and that’s okay.

 

Book Reviews

Exit West – Book Review

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Summary: In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

Review: The relevance of this book is why I decided to read it, and I kept reading because of the beautiful story. It’s poetic in a way I have never seen before. Exit West has an element that feels a bit like magical realism, but what was gripping was following Saeed and Nadia through their journey. Journey feels like too light of a word to use here though. The book isn’t very long and I flew through it. It’s heartbreaking, horrific, and motivating all in one go. The talks about refugees are so prevalent right now, especially here in Europe, and I have felt empathy beyond words for everything that’s been happening, but this book opened the flood gates. It may be a fictional story, but good fiction will further open our eyes to the truth that surrounds us.

This book got four out of five metal horns!

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Books

Try a Chapter – March

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Try a Chapter is a tag that was going around Booktube for a while, and I decided to bring it over to the blog. Every month I will pick four books, read the first chapter in each, and decide what I will read next. This month I picked four books I have been meaning to start, but February was a terrible reading month for me. I was in one of my worst reading slumps I have ever been in, and I am still trying to fully shake it off.

Here are the four books I read the first chapter of, and read till the end to discover which book I decided to read next. I try not to give away too much in my thoughts on the first chapters I read.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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Summary: Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

1st Chapter has 14 pages

Thoughts: At first the chapter started off and I was instantly a little confused, that quickly went away. Todd is the last boy in a town that has no women, and only men. His 13th birthday is nearing and that is when he officially becomes a man. There was some kind of germ that killed off all the women and gave the men the ability to hear everyone’s thoughts. In this first chapter, as Todd is out with his dog, he discovered a hole, or a silence in the noise he’s been living in. It feels really weird, but I love Patrick Ness’ writing so much! I am really interested in finding out what this silence actually is.

Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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Summary: Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

1st Chapter – 7 pages

Thoughts: The beginning is intense. Yael is on a train with her mother and tons of other people. Not a regular train, but one meant for transport of objects and not people. She’s huddled close to her mother when the doors fly open and they’re being yelled at. Yael gets picked out of the crowd for an experiment. She’s only 6 years old. It’s definitely left a mark on me, and I love historical fiction especially when it’s an alternate history kind of tale.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

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Summary: A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, from which enough ash spews to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.

It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

And it ends with you. You are the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where orogenes wield the power of the earth as a weapon and are feared far more than the long cold night. And you will have no mercy.

Prologue – 14 Pages

Thoughts: The prologue jumps around a bit, but this story is beautifully written. You jump around and get introduced to different aspects of what is happening, which I imagine will be important knowledge to have moving forward. I glanced at the beginning of the actual first chapter and noticed it is written in second person point of view. I am not a huge fan of this point of view, but with the way the prologue kicked off it feels like a fresh way to write this fantasy novel.

The Way of Kings: Part One by Brandon Sanderson

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Summary: SPEAK AGAIN THE ANCIENT OATHS,

LIFE BEFORE DEATH.
STRENGTH BEFORE WEAKNESS.
JOURNEY BEFORE DESTINATION.

AND RETURN TO MEN THE SHARDS THEY ONCE BORE.

THE KNIGHTS RADIANT MUST STAND AGAIN.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.

One such war is about to swallow up a soldier, a brightlord and a young woman scholar.

Prologue – 16 Pages

Thoughts: Well this wouldn’t be a Sanderson novel without a long chapter, or in this case prologue. The prologue kicks off at some kind of feast, and the character we are following is wearing white, which he was told to do even though he’s on a mission to kill. The idea of wearing white is you give your enemy a chance of seeing you coming in for the kill. It has really gripped me, but the issue is that this is just Part One of the first full book, and I am not sure I can make the commitment at this very moment to jump into a Sanderson book.

Decision: This was really difficult because every single book I chose to try a chapter for sounds amazing. I have decided on Wolf by Wolf though, mainly because I am only now slowly getting out of a reading slump, and the others are bigger undertakings and commitments right now, but I AM going to read the others after this. Such incredible choices!!

Till next month!!

 

Books

Book World Tour

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Recently I went on Twitter and asked for recommendations for authors that aren’t American. Not because I dislike American authors, but because I want to learn more about different countries and cultures and just be able to find brilliant writers from all over the world. The tweet was semi-popular and I GREATLY appreciate the people who took the time to respond, but in the interest of full disclosure, I was also extremely disappointed. I only received recs for authors that are from Canada, UK, or Australia, Most of which were already familiar to me.

This is no ones fault but my own because I wasn’t really clear about what I wanted and what I was personally looking for. So here is my clarification:

I want to create a list of books and authors from around the world, but I don’t need recommendations for countries where I already have a sense of familiarity with many of their authors, namely USA,UK,CANADA, and AUSTRALIA. I want to step away from those borders and enter new areas. So I created a google form, where you can go in and leave the name of an author, the country they’re from, and the title of the book. I will then compile a massive list and create the Book World Tour challenge. Where people can pick out a few books from authors they may not be aware of, who are telling stories that we can learn from and be able to spread the word about different books and cultures.

The Google form can be found here: https://goo.gl/forms/SUNoPnoM64WJcWlv1

And I really hope you can share this through the online book community so we can all start reading fresh and new stories from all over the world!

See you soon!!

Book Reviews

A Monster Calls – Book Review

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I bought a copy of A Monster Calls last year at a used book sale for 1 euro. It was the first Patrick Ness book I bought, but after reading this one, it certainly won’t be the last. It took me so long to finally pick this up and read it because sometimes when people hype up books too much my interest in them sort of wavers. I know I sound like a hipster that feels like they’re just not into anything mainstream, but the truth is I have had bad luck with overhyped books in the past, so I am always afraid that I am going to really hate something when all the hype is built up around it.

THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

I was wrong in this case. A Monster Calls was an amazing story. It’s short and anything but sweet. The story follows Conor who is a 13 year old boy who wakes to find a monster outside of his window. The monster has seen the passing of time, as it is ancient and it has stories to tell. The Monster doesn’t wake just to tell Conor these stories, but to also get something from Conor in return–The truth! It’s a dark and twisted tale, and yet beautifully poetic. The idea for this story is actually from Siobhan Dowd, who passed away before being able to write the book herself, and so Patrick Ness finished it, and he did such a beautiful job with her idea.

It is heart wrenching and it will grip you in a way that not many books can. I loved it so much more than I ever expected to, and it made me so emotional while reading it. I think if you’re looking for something different to read, something that will touch your very soul, then you should give this a read.

I give A Monster Calls 5 out of 5 Metal Horns!!

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Books

The Dramedy of Book Twitter

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Man, I hope I write this in the best possible way. Intent  doesn’t mean shit if you trample over everything like a drunk giant. Get ready for a rant.

I haven’t updated my blog in a while because of LIFE. I already promised myself I wouldn’t apologize anymore for this. I started this for fun, and it will only continue to be that way as long as I don’t feel like I HAVE to update this place all the time. Sure I’d like to be more consistent with my blogging, but I am merely human and truthfully, I don’t give a shit what you think about my lack of updates.

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I have been active on Book Twitter and it’s kept me informed of all the book releases, conflicts, drama, and comedy. It’s also made me laugh, frown, and made me want to rip my hair out all in one go. That is the dramedy that is Book twitter. I follow some great people. They’re intelligent, they’re fierce, and they are also opinionated. I am here for all of it. I want to know what people think about different books. I want to see people point out when things bother them in a novel and I want to listen and learn.

Recently though something has made me want to throw books around. TWO things have crept up on book twitter like the plague. One of those is the super fangirls who attack like little trained minions whenever you comment on their favorite books or authors. You see it A LOT with Sarah J. Maas and Cassandra Clare fans, but also with JK Rowling and others. People have yet to learn that you may love something dearly but that does not mean the entire world will feel the same. I have yet to finish the throne of glass series and her other series. You can love those books till you’re blue in the face but if you call me an idiot for the fact that I don’t find them as interesting as you do, you’re not doing Maas any favors. Stop bitching at people for their opinions. Also, this goes for you people on the other side of the coin too, whether you just didn’t enjoy the story or find it problematic don’t tell people they are morons for reading it. I am at fault for this too once or twice but I am learning how to just let people enjoy things.

The second thing that’s crept up on book twitter, is the conflicting and hypocritical talks about problematic content in books. To clarify, I absolutely stand with people reserving the right to call authors out on their problematic content. I think if something is bothersome to you, there is a way to reach out and speak politely and openly with an author about it. Being more critical of the books you are reading is a good thing. What has bothered me is that the same people who were out there with pitchforks, yelling for the book The Continent to be reedited because of its problematic content, are seemingly okay with Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth who’s book apparently has similar problematic content. Not only is the issue similar, the authors’ explanations and “apologies” are similar too and yet only one of them has their book on hold, and the other one was on the NYT best sellers list. I will let you guess which one.

I haven’t read either one, but I am commenting on the hypocritical bullshit that comes out of book twitter quite often these days. I think diversity is important, But I also think a lot of the white people yelling about diversity use the term loosely and only use it when it suits them. Many of them were ready to stand up for Roth when just a few months ago they were vowing to burn copies of The Continent. Diversity and respect for marginalized voices isn’t a bag of trail mix, you can’t just pick and choose the parts you like.

I like the book community and especially book twitter, but there are some aspects of it that have started to mold the way I read things and what I choose to read. I think I would have continued with the Throne of Glass series had the overly aggressive fans not annoyed the shit out of me. I had no interest in reading Carve the Mark or The Continent but now because people have been such hypocrites about these two books, I want to read them so I can compare and contrast and form my own educated opinion.

I think a lot of the Book Twitter drama could be minimized if we could all just stop calling each other names and respected one another. I think people need to start thinking before jumping on the mob mentality that takes over twitter sometimes, and I really do think we need to let people enjoy things. Truth is a person can find something problematic but still enjoy its entertainment value, and I don’t see an issue with that.

This of course is MY opinion, and you may not share the same view, but please comment down below and share it anyway.