Blogging At The Wrong Time

WHAT WAS I THINKING?

I decided to start this blog maybe two weeks before this current semester started. I thought, “I can do this! I can document my last semester. I can keep up with my school work through this blog. I can keep my sanity while juggling everything I need to do.” MMhmmm!

Well….

I was wrong. “Gasp!” I know. It surprised me too. However, I have realized that this process has made me appreciate the bloggers I follow, my own writing journey, and bloggers in general. This is not an easy thing to do. Especially when you have to go to school full time taking senior level advanced writing courses, survey literature classes, and an in-depth internship, along with working, and being a single mother to an active little boy who has just started t-ball. It is hard to find the time to create great content.

Pretty Writing

I spend so much time on the things that take priority over this blog that I can not produce high-quality content. I will have ideas and conduct research, because I want to be correct and accurate on what I put out, but I never put out anything. It is a sad thing to come to terms with, but for the sake of my readers and my own sanity, I do not put out cockamamie post. I believe that I can do better, and my readers deserve better. I know that I have some really good ideas. To share those ideas and recieve feedback for the content I put out is important to improve my writing skills and to grow. I do not want to do it just for personal reasons, but for professional reasons as well.

I want to be the candidate that employers are excited to hire, because I can help their company improve/grow and build my own career at the same time. This blog is a way for me to explore my professional and unprofessional styles of writing. I just want to discover myself as a writer and this platform is going to be the best way for me to do just that.

So I will continue to work on this blog, but I will be forthcoming in saying that the content will be sparse for the next two months. However, come May/June2019 I will have more time and will be able to focus on this site more intensely. I started it, and I will continue it. I know this is something I am passionate about, becasue I can not stop thinking about how to improve it.

A friendly tip for those looking to start a blog, make sure that you have the time to dedicate to it. If your schedule is crazy busy, but you know this is something you want/need to do: make it a priority! For me, my child, school, and work too precedence over my hobby. So I can’t do it justice at the moment. But if your passionate about it, PURSUE IT!

Never Stop Dreaming

I thank all of y’all who read my posts, (the five who do *facepalm* I’m grateful ) and I promise to do better by y’all in the future.

As Always,

Keep Reading Together!

Finding A Local Gem

A new local bookstore has worked itself into my heart.

Absolutely Fiction Books is a small, but wonderful bookstore in Lufkin, Texas. I had been searching for a bookstore that was not apart of a large chain. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the large chains like Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. But the cozy and unique feeling I get from a small bookstore is what makes me love reading so much.

It is small but wonderful. It has two levels and offers a very large children’s section. There is a good selection for each genre. I think that is what endeared me to this particular store. As a mother and an avid reader, finding and providing books for my little one is terribly important. The collection was vast, and it had versions of books that I had never seen before. What was even better was the reaction Jaxson had. He walked in and I could see the awe on his face. He said, “Oh wow mommy this is so cool! Can I get some books?”. I, of course, bought him some books and bookmarks. It was such a wonderful thing to experience with my baby. It made going to the bookstore and reading a gift that is shared between the two of us.

When I think of reading or books, I think about the entire process.

Going to the bookstore. Walking in and taking in all of the book covers and cozy nooks with comfy chairs and warm lighting.

Scanning the spines and covers for books that might be interesting. Sliding out that eye-catching book, and flipping through the pages to find the synopsis, and checking out a few chapters.

Walking around the store, discovering the genres and sections you wouldn’t have thought to read. Finding cute bookmarks, stickers, bookshelf decor, and the amazing little trinkets.

Walking up to purchase your finds, and having a conversation with the bookstore owner or employee. Trying not to hold up the line in your excitement to speak about books with a fellow bibliophile.

It makes reading that much more fun because we know that once we finish our great book we can make our way back to the bookstore. For me, I didn’t even wait to finish my book, I went back the next day, and then the next showing my sisters what I found.

So if y’all are ever in Deep East Texas, and need to find a bookstore Absolutely Fiction Bookstore is your place!

Here is a list of my finds:

  • Native American Myths- General Editor Jake Jackson
  • The Occult Books: A Chronological Journey from Alchemy to Wicca- John Michael Greer
  • The Arabian Nights– Translated by Sir Richard Burton
  • The Emerald Sea– Richelle Mead
  • Courting Darkness- Robin LaFevers
  • A Bookjigs Bookmark with a dog design
  • Everyday Tarot cards
  • 2 Chakra Bracelets
  • 2 Pendulums- 1 Rose Quartz and 1 silver

Do you have a favorite bookstore? Let me know!

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Absolutely Fiction Books. It is purely a recollection of my experience.

Pleasure Reading vs. Academic Reading: A Personal Struggle

The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction (Academic) or Seafire (Pleasure). Decisions, decisions, decisions…

The decision between academic reading and pleasure reading, for me, comes down to time management.

I have made it to my final semester in my undergraduate studies. Yay!! However, finding time to read for pleasure has been a struggle. I’m a full-time student, a part-time business office employee for a small community college, and a single (in every sense of the word) mother. Managing a household, a small child, work, and school leaves no time for pleasure reading.

Yet, I still manage to work it in. With all I have to do, a mental break comes in the form of books. To be SuperMom, I have to take care of me first, then everything else.

My love for books can sometimes be overshadowed by my “to-do” list. As a “responsible” adult/student, I have realized that in order for me to achieve my “Belle-like” library I have to have money. How do I get money? I get a job. How do I get a job that is sufficient enough to support my reading addiction? I get a college degree.

Well, what does that have to do with time management? Letting you into my life and giving a brief description of what the majority of my time goes to will help you understand how I find time to pleasure read.

School is the biggest consumer of my time. As a full-time English student, I am constantly reading and writing for academic purposes. Works from Socrates, Irving, Poe, Shelley, and the plethora of textbooks that occupy my shelves are far from what I consider pleasure reading. Now, do not get me wrong, I have taken a lot of interesting classes that have introduced me to genres I had never considered reading before.

Still, I am stuck in my ways and I know what I like. So now to the time management. Making a timeline might seem pretentious and boring, but it has been a great tool to utilize. I found that if I plan out my entire day, I end up with free time. WHAT?! I know right shocker! Granted this free time is not in a large 4 hour block, it is still free time.

When I complete my daily schedule, I find that when I section my academic reading into 3-hour blocks I get into a rhythm and read faster than if I do it in short sections. Now, this is subjective and depends on the amount of reading I have, but on average 3 to 3 1/2 hours of focused reading and note-taking a day leaves me with a good hour/ hour and a half of pleasure reading time.

I will adjust as needed, but the logistics of the system I have made for myself stays the same. I know my priorities, and I work around them.

I realized when I became a mother the time I allowed for reading would shorten drastically, adding work and school to that made it almost nonexistent. It took some planning and deep reflection to find a method that worked best for me.

Audiobooks have become great tools as well. I do not normally listen to audiobooks for my pleasure reading, but I do utilize them more often for my academic reading. Even if I can not devote all of my attention to the audiobook, I listen while I am at work, then go back and reread. It makes the process a lot faster and easier. It also helps me to retain the information.

What works for me might not work for you and vice versa, but I hope you are able to take into consideration my methods and find ways to keep reading. If you love books and reading as much as I do, then I have faith you will always make sure to find time to do what you love.

Whether that be reading, painting, woodwork, or whatever. Life is too short. (I know cliché, but its true!) Our time is precious and I would rather spend it doing what I love.

How do you find time in your busy days to pleasure read? Let me know below. I love to hear from y’all.

As always,

Keep Reading Together.

Bookends “Spider Game” Review

OH MY GAWD!


In Christine Feehan’s novel, Spider Game, she tells the story of the cold, haunted, and insanely genius with Aspergers Syndrome, Trap, and the lethal, gorgeous, and almost equally as smart, Cayenne. This story is definitely a hot one. Trap is shut off from the world and has a past that haunts him every day. He is the infamous “Ice Man” of the Ghostwalker team, and he lives up to the name. This group of genetically, physically, and psychically modified Special Forces soldiers are forced to fight many foes. Their primary enemy is Dr. Whitney, the doctor who experimented on them.

This doctor also experimented on young girls, one of those girls is Cayenne. She has special spider-like abilities and was set to be terminated. Until Trap saves her. They embark on this dangerous journey to save Cayenne from the past that haunts Trap and the termination orders that haunt Cayenne.

The sexy and intense novel is definitely a page-turner! I will admit I did bristle as the domineering ways of the very sexy Trap Dawkins, but then I realized if he looked the way Feehan describes, then I would probably submit to him too! Their physical relationship is……. HOT!

Cayenne and Trap are perfectly matched. He wants to protect her and she allows him to. I say ‘allow’ because Cayenne does not need anyone to protect her. She is a gentically modified woman with skills for days and she absolutely holds her own. I love their story and their relationship.

This novel is the 12th in the Ghostwalker series. You can read this one alone, but there is so much pertinent information in the previous books. It is better to start at the beginning.

As I have said before, Christine Feehan is one of my favorite authors. This novel will showcase why. She has a great balance throughout the novel. Action and romance. Both the male and female lead characters exhibit the ability to care for themselves but embrace the journey of self and sexual discovery.

I definitely recommend this read. To read an excerpt, click the image of the book. It will take you to Christine’s page. While you are there, take a look around at her other series.

Be on the look out for more reviews! Make sure to like and follow. Let me know if you are interested in reading this novel.

As always,

Keep Reading Together!


Reading Sexy Novels

Sex, love, and happy endings.

Add in the paranormal element, and I will most likely read it. Romance novels were introduced to me by…. wait for it… my MOTHER. Yes! My lovely mother opened my eyes to the naughty books of the world. I was about 13 or 14 when she gave my first “naughty” book. I was fascinated and terrified at the same time. Fascinated, because… um hello… it’s SEX! I’m now 25 and still fascinated with it. However, it did scare me. I had hundreds of questions crowding up my brain, but the one that stood forefront was: Am I being Punk’d? Why would she give this to me?

As a mother myself, I can see now that she was actually a genius. She talked to me about sex without having to say a single word. I was a mature 13-year-old, and she understood that. So I knew sex was not always like it was in the books, but it helped give me an idea of what courtship and sex should be like. Historical Romance was her favorite genre at that time. She enjoyed authors such as Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, and Tessa Dare. The men of those books were chivalrous and knightly, and the women were sassy with an independent air. My expectations for the boys (later, the men) were modeled after those portrayals.

Those novels had my expectations set incredibly high. How could a nasty, smelly, crude 16-year-old boy compare to the heroes in the books? Answer: They couldn’t. That is what made her the smartest mom in the world. I did NOT want anything to do with boys. I wanted to go to school, play sports, hang out with my friends, and read. Boys were cute to me, but they were never the sexy beast of my historical romance. Until I turned 18, but that is another story.

The introduction of romance novels has shaped my life so drastically. They made me love reading so much that I decided to go to school for English. Without that introduction, I would not be blogging or trying to work on my own novel. It has helped me come into my own as a reader and to explore not only the romance genre but many other genres as well.

I have found that paranormal romance is my top favorite genre. Often, I will speak about Christine Feehan. She brings the feminine, the action, the dirty, the sweet, and the romance into her novels. Her incorporation of all of those elements with the paranormal storyline has me addicted to her novels. She is without a doubt my most favorite author.

Her novels and the novels of Lora Leigh became a staple in the conversations my mother and I would have when I was a teenager. As I have gotten older, I have broadened my horizons. I actually read books that do not have sex scenes in them at all. I know! Shocker! I read all sorts of genres now, but I am a romantic through and through. I love the feeling I get from all of those sexy romantic scenes and the happy endings. Reading sexy novels is a refuge. I can escape into their worlds, and live through them without having to do the dirty work.

Romance and paranormal have my attention, but I am willing to expand. Share with me what interest you! I’d love to know!

What is your favorite genre? Who is your favorite author in that genre?

As always,

Keep Reading Together!


Book Series and Single Titles

Not to sound biased or anything, but… I LOVE BOOK SERIES!!!

Okay, that might have been a bit extreme, but seriously I love them. I am a fairly emotional person when it comes to books and the stories. I get very involved with the characters and their struggles and victories. Which is why I enjoy trilogies, sagas, chronicles, or whatever you chose to call them.

HOWEVER! There are some downsides to reading a series. As a perpetually impatient person, I am completely against having to wait for the next book to come out. This is where the “pro” of a single title comes in. Where there is a wait for the next book in a series, that does not happen with a single title. It is straightforward. The book has a beginning, a middle, and an end. You know what you are getting with a single title.

A con of a single title is the rush of the storyline. Everything seems to happen so fast, and there is less of an indepth development of the backstory. A series can allow for an intense storyline with great details because it has multiple books to incorporate those details.

Both single titles and book series have opposite pros and cons. It all comes down to preference and what we are willing to deal with. As I said before, I am a very impatient person, but I enjoy the long drawn out storytelling process. I like having a single book as the beginning of a story.

Here are a few of my favorite book series:

  • All of Christine Feehan’s series (Sorry! I couldn’t pick just one)
    • Dark Series
    • Ghostwalker Series
    • Leopard Series
    • Shadow Series
    • Torpedo Ink Series
    • Sea Haven Series
    • Drake Sisters Series
  • The Twilight Saga- Stephaine Meyer
  • Bridgerton Series-Julia Quinn
  • Fallen Series- Lauren Kate
Courtesy of ChristineFeehan.com

Here is a list of a few of my favorite single titles:

  • Lair of the Lion- Christine Feehan
  • Like Water for Chocolate- Laura Esquivel
  • Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
  • The Turn of the Screw- Henry James

Choosing a single title or a series takes some research. One of my biggest pet peeves is to pick up a book and begin reading it only to find out that is a book in the middle of a series *Facepalm*. Another is to read a book that is sooo good only to discover it is a single title. I definitely learned my lesson in that aspect. So be sure to check the book out before reading it to make sure you know what you are getting into. A little research never hurt anyone.

Whether you like single titles or book series the goal is the same: to have an enjoyable reading experience. Which do you prefer: single titles or series? What are some of your favorite series or single titles? I love to hear from y’all!

As always,

Keep Reading Together!

Finding the Perfect Spot

We all have a favorite place to sit or lay when we read. Finding that perfect place is detrimental to enjoying our book fully. Relaxing in a hammock, the warm outside breeze blowing through my hair, and a great book in my hands spells DISASTER! For me, at least.

I would be fast asleep within the first ten minutes. If I was trying to take a nap that would work perfectly, however, if I am trying to read the really good book, I am going to have to switch it up.

So what is the ideal place to read? Well, that is a subjective question that depends on the person.

I am a fan of the large comfy chair, soft and somewhat bright lighting, an ottoman for my feet, and a light blanket. That, with a hot cup of minty Matcha Green tea spells HEAVEN!

Being comfortable is essential to reading. Cramped positions and bad lighting makes for a bad reading experience. Here are some tips for finding the perfect spot to read:

  • Seating
    • When finding the perfect spot, you have to know yourself. Are you the type of person that falls asleep as soon as they get in the bed? If so, you might not want to read there. What about a rocking chair, is it going to lull you to sleep as well. Is a hard chair going to be too uncomfortable to relax in?
    • I find that medium soft chair does the trick. It keeps me upright and does not allow me to lay down. Adding a firm pillow behind my back keeps my posture straight, and make me less prone to shoulder and backaches.
  • Atmosphere
    • Finding the right environment is imperative to being able to focus and read your book. There are some amazing people who can read in a crowded place and never lose focus. If that is you, CONGRATULATIONS! You have earned my envy :)! However, if you are in the boat with me, you probably cannot take too much noise and commotion while reading.
    • If you are a parent, like I am, find a way to settle your kids for an hour or two. (Yeah! Jasmine let me just tell my kids to quiet down I am trying to have some me time cuz that works so well every other time!) I know, I know! I am lucky to have a well-behaved four-year-old who loves peace and quiet. Putting on a movie right before nap time is how I hit two birds with one stone. When it is movie time that means nap time is coming. I am able to have an hour of light reading. When the movie is over it is nap time and that gives me another hour and a half of deep reading.
    • If you do not have kids, finding your ideal atmosphere is a little easier. If you have loud roommates or neighbors, try your local coffee shop (bring headphones), or maybe your local library (people have to be quiet there).
  • Temperature
    • Being in a comfortable chair and in the right atmosphere means nothing if you are freezing your hiney off or sweating like crazy.
      I know you cannot always control the temperature. So when you are the person in charge of the thermostat, then adjust it accordingly.
    • However, if you are not, then adjust yourself accordingly. If you are a naturally cold person, bring a blanket or wear long sleeves and a jacket. If you are on the opposite side, try investing in a small, battery operated, personal fan, and light clothing.

With these tips you should be able to have a wonderful reading experience. Let me know how you find your perfect spot.

Keep Reading Together!

Real Books vs eBooks

The debate between digital vs paper has been around since the first online post. As technology progresses, we see the decline in print materials. Newspapers are not as popular, and the magazine sections have slimmed down as well. However, when it comes to books the debate seems to be equally matched. I have always enjoyed having the “actual” book in my hands. The smell of the paper and ink and the feel of the paper sliding between my fingers is almost euphoric. To me, the pull to have a “Belle-like” (Beauty and the Beast) library is hard to get over. With that being said, my generation LOVES technology. It is fast and super convenient. That brings us to the eReaders. There are so many different types of eReaders, but the idea is the same. To compress thousands of books into a small device. I did some research and found three eReaders that did pretty much the same thing, but were at a different price point.

eReaders- Click on the eReader name to see images.

  • Kobo Aura
    • This eReader offers an easy reading experience. It has a backlight for night-reading, 4GB of space, and the charge last for weeks. It is light and easily put in a purse or backpack. You can purchase it from Amazon for $140.
  • Kindle Oasis
    • This waterproof eReader makes reading in the hot tub a breeze. It, like the Kobo Aura, has a charge that lasts for weeks. It comes in two colors, Champagne Gold and Graphite, and it offers built-in Audible. With 8GB of space and Wifi connectivity, this eReader is ideal for avid readers and travelers. The price of this device comes in at $250.
  • inkBOOK Classic
    • The inkBOOK Classic is perfect for those who have difficulties reading. It offers high contrast mode for those with vision issues. The eReader also offers OpenDyslexic font for the readers who are dyslexic. It is light and contains buttons on the side for easy page turning. This eReader is priced at $80.

The eReaders can have access to millions of books automatically. There is no lugging around a suitcase full of books. Just throw it in a purse or bag and we are good to go. The convenience of an eReader cannot be denied, and for a traveler it is ideal. However, they will need to be charged and they only have so much space. In the end, it all boils down to personal preference and circumstance. I do not travel very often, so having the actual book is more my speed. A traveler might disagree. Having a small, lightweight device is better suited for them, but hey! to each their own.