personal

A Prayer for 2017

We’ve talked about this, I’m not much of a religious person. I do, however, sometimes say things aloud to the universe in hopes that they catch something. I say riddles, odd descriptions, things like: Hello, I enjoy coffee and baths and books. I have been told that I have a calming presence but that can mean a cup of chamomile tea or a shot of whiskey in the dark. My friend once said that I’m one of the only people who understand the way she speaks, in tongues and metaphors. I thought that was such an astounding sentence because who couldn’t use a bit of understanding in their lives? Especially right now. We’re so busy screaming at each other to be heard that we forgot how to listen. We forgot how to lend a copy of our favorite book in hopes that people could see glimmers of our souls tucked inside the pages. We forgot to observe the people around us in hopes of memorizing who they are when they think that no one is looking. We’re too busy trying to fit each other into little boxes and then attempting to change our loved ones when we don’t like the boxes that they fit in. We’re so full of anger and we’re so lost. Anger can be a beautiful component of our existence and so is being perfectly off the beaten path. It’s important to stop and remember why we’re so angry. This is a lot, coming from a tiny ball of rage and a walking storm, to be looking out amongst a sea of people and thinking “Why are they so hateful?” 

I throw this to the universe in the hopes that it’s caught by someone or something. I pray that we remember to feel anger for the right reasons. Stop being angry because your neighbor is different than you, start being angry because your soul is being chained. Stop being angry because you have all this time, an unknown variable, that you’ve chosen to live in a way you’re not proud of. Start being angry because there are people who were taken before they reaized where the numbers stopped. It’s taken me a long time to learn that we have our own hearts and lungs and minds – that we can not decide how much someone is hurting because we assume they are like us, with identical atriums and lobes. 

Teach your kids to be happy over a well-loved novel; a book is not the same without folded pages and pencil marks and we are not the same without the constellations of scars on our bodies. Share a cup of coffee with a friend, be silent, and remember. Acknowledge their hurt, be angry because someone broke them, not because you will never understand their pain.

Enjoy your time, I pray that everyone who reads this can stop and enjoy five minutes – to relive the moments that made them feel alive again. 

Carry on,

The Book Witch 

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The Book Witch’s Book Challenge

Hello, friends!

I thought it would be a rad idea to share my 2017 Book Challenge with you. I’m trying to read 60 books this year, which is a low number for me, but with all my other shit going on, it’s been hard to find the time to read. As a way to reach my goal with less anxiety, I wrote my own Book Challenge so that I can check off certain prompts and premises as I go along.

Feel free to add or remove your own in accordance to your interests, I tried to keep things relatively broad; let me know if you check anything off your reading list using this challenge!

  • A nonfiction book
  • A book published in the last year (pretty sure I’ll be checking this off with The Bone Witch or A Court of Wings and Ruin)
  • A book by someone who isn’t an author (I’m like 1/2 way through Anna Kendrick’s autobiography and it’s super funny)
  • A recommendation (I will be getting to Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy…I’m so sorry it took me a year, Megan.
  • An award winning book (I’m looking at you Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe) 
  • A book with a one-word title
  • A book with a number in the title (I’M DOING THIS ONE RIGHT NOW)
  • A book on your TBR (if this prompt seems like it crawled up from a hole of chaos and despair, that’s because it did. Surprise!)
  • a book about / based around mythology (Wanted: Hades & Persephone smut)
  • a book about food
  • a book you bought on a trip (Fun fact: I bought Red Queen on a trip to Carmel and I’m starting a read-along with a Facebook group on February 1st! If anyone needs more incentive to read, let me know and I’d be happy to start a book-club)
  • a book with a pseudonym
  • a book about the ocean
  • a book of poetry
  • a book about best friends
  • a thriller

 

It’s more for when I hit a book slump and need a boost. Checking things off of lists is one way I can always ensure my motivation. I figure when I check all of these off, I can rewrite another list… and another… and another… If you have any suggestions or you plan on using this as a guideline, let me know! I always have recommendations for those of us who need more of an excuse to buy books.

Speaking of buying books… I did a thing. Hint: I bought books.

I jumped on that Coleen Hoover bandwagon and everyone has been telling me to read Truthwitch because it’s similar to ToG; I finished the third book in that series yesterday and my life is in shambles. I got Shade Me because its about synethsia, which I have, and its a thriller. Playlist for the Dead sounds sad as fuck and has a musical premise, which is one of my favorite things ever. 

I heard back about my laptop today, there’s no estimate for when it will be back BUT I don’t have to pay for the replacement parts because of warranties, yay!

Soon, I’ll be able to upload pictures from my big girl camera.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Carry on,

The Book Witch

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personal

An Introvert’s Insight Into Toxic Influences

So, learning how to use a DSLR camera is a fucking nightmare. I got some reading material to try and clarify some things but it looks like the mostly focus on Nikon and Canon…and I’m a proud Kodak owner. 

In addition, I haven’t gotten any positive news about my laptop so my nerves are a little frayed. On a brighter note, my fiancé started his new career yesterday. We have some bills to pay and some wedding costs to manage and then (hopefully) we will be able to move. I’m dying to have my own space and a push in the right direction is something we definitely need.

I was really excited this morning because I woke up, went to the gym, showered, and then had a personalized makeup lesson from one of the girls at my second job. Makeup is one of those daily routines that really empowers me.

Here’s the finished look:


In other news, I came across a few quotes recently that really resonated with me. The first one was:

You should give a fuck. You really should, but only about things that set your soul on fire. Save your fucks for magical shit.

and then this one, a quote about INTJ’s that I felt deep in my soul:

We love few people profoundly instead of several people sparingly.

and, finally:

Life is too short for bad books, decaf coffee, and toxic people.

I befriended my first toxic person in middle school, and much like I collect Virgos, I’ve been attracting them ever since. When I began this friendship, I had already been dubbed the “Harry Potter girl” and the “fastest reader” in my class of thirty-six students. I was strange and wall-flowerish and too sarcastic for my age. I rejected most of the religious readings and, above all, hated being separated from my books. For someone who had always been comfortable in my own skin, it was surprising how fast my friend was able to make me hate myself- I was called fat and emotional and weird. Suddenly, I wasn’t as at home in the silence of solitude or as in-love with the quirt nooks of my home. I needed to be reassured that my presence was important, desired. I didn’t care about any of this; I had found a friend! A friend with similar interests, as well!

Years passed before I reclaimed my self worth. After my first toxic influence, I continued to allow toxic people into mt life – welcoming their personal issues as my own – until recently. I cut the ties, fishing wire and red strings, holding me to the toxic people in my life. Re- learning to enjoy my own company was much more rewarding than being a doormat.

I’m not sure what it’s like for extroverts to have toxic influences in their lives, I have never been an extrovert. Even in the days that I spent covered in sunshine and chlorine, I craved solitude. I can tell you, however, how important it is for introverts to let go of negative people. Allowing toxicity into our lives is consenting to the idea that we aren’t worth more than their opinions. It’s letting go of Friday nights at home, with our hobbies and our thoughts, to go be with someone who will eventually turn us against ourselves. It’s saying
“I don’t love you, the bones that form my foundation and the mind that dwells inside, to keep you safe from voluntary harm”. It sounds harsh but it’s true; every time I’ve told someone “That friend doesn’t treat you with love”, I’ve watched the fear in their eyes so often that I feel it as my own. You shouldn’t fear cutting ties with someone, but that’s what happens with toxic humans – they inject themselves into our veins and take root in our hearts; they poison our blood with false promises and their own victimization.

I know lovely people in my life that I wish would cut ties with their toxic friends. I know it’s hard, I have toxic people in my family tree that I have no hope for severing, but I have learned to stand my ground and allow myself to create considerable distance.  I know people who light up my world that are friends with people who want to control them or change them or turn them into something that they aren’t.

If you come away from this post with anything, I hope you understand that you can’t fully love the right people or trust healthy relationships until you let go of the wrong ones.

May you always know your worth & let your truth shine,

The Book Witch

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This Savage Song Review

Sorry that this is a day late; I had to take  my laptop to Geek Squad since it won’t turn on 😦 Send good vibes that it’s an easy fix, please.

I’ve always had a formidable approach to life; I am wholeheartedly dedicated to the search of learning and gaining new skills. I’m so excited that I get to start taking more creativity-oriented classes. The thought of dipping my toes into the waters of photography and embossing and cosmetology fulfills me more than three years of college ever has. I found tutorials on YouTube for embroidery and calligraphy and I’m adding them into my daily routines so that I am a constant storm of creating and bettering myself. I don’t know if it’s my Gemini soul or my Slytherin ambition but it feels so good to pursue knowing and feel the curiosity tug me in endless directions. I work a desk job and manage a coffee shop and I never stop, never cease, fighting to rise above the dullness of falling into a career that I hate. It’s not a lack of interests or an unsureness of myself but a hatred of a life that lacks magic. As soon as I have a reliable computer and a better grasp of how to use my camera, I’ll download some  of my pictures and share them here. Until then, enjoy my terrible iphone pictures!

Summary: 

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

Overall: 6/10 

Plot: The plot of this story is very creative and I think that’s my favorite part of the story; I loved the descriptions of the different kinds of demons and how the Sunai use music as a way to reap souls. It’s post-apocalyptic but it feels like it takes place in the present, which is a nice change of pace from how I feel these stories are normally written. I usually end up feeling kind of distant from the characters. It was a darker take on the end of modern civilization rather than a futuristic one. I loved the darker elements of the story and how the author uses political corruption as a big influence – but instead of the “the world fell because of the government” it was a “the world fell and then the bad guys rose to power in the ruin “. There was a lot of dark vs. light and I liked how Kate’s dad was an example of the age-old philosophy that humans are the most evil creatures to roam the earth.

Characters: I’m sad to say that the characters fell flat. They were very cliche and very underdone. They lacked a lot of depth that I usually see in YA and I was bummed. Kate’s a stereotypical “bad girl” and August is the sweet, sensitive boy born into a cruel world. There wasn’t a lot of romance, which confused me because that’s where the story seemed like it was heading. I liked their unlikely friendship but I felt like it was rushed.

Conclusion: So the reason that I gave it a 6/10 is because the ending fucked me up. I’m guessing there has to be a second book because I finished with so many more questions than answers.  There were like eight plot twists within  like twenty pages and it was magical.

Speaking of magic, it’s so wonderful to be in love with reading and with fictional characters. A reader experiences an infinite amount of bewitchment in such a short amount of time. Our lives are soaked in love and emotions that we never imagined feeling. I wake up some mornings and I am astounded as to how much affection I have for a boy with glasses and a lightning scar. I stop, in the middle of a mundane task, and feel completely devastated by the love I have for Harry and his friends.

Wish my poor laptop luck on it’s trip to Kentucky!

Carry on,

The Book Witch

 

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paranormal, personal

So, I Heard You Like Ghost Stories

…and if you don’t then you probably like book reviews, which is something that I also post frequently! If you’re here for book reviews, then I’m terribly sorry but you’ll have to wait until Thursday. If you like ghost stories, you came on the right day.

I’ve been super sick and binge watching A Series of Unfortunate Events and reading Heir of Fire whenever my brain isn’t a foggy mess. I really like ASOUE and am happy that Jim Carey is no longer an issue, fight me. My mom says my camera should be here tomorrow and I’m S T O K E D because then I get to sign up for classes, yay!

I tried to capture some of my favorite things in this Bookstagram photo – Disney’s Haunted Mansion & Salem, MA. I’ve never been to Salem but its on the top of my bucket list and I actually specialized in the study of the witch trials while I majored in Anthropology. I have, however, been to the Haunted Mansion on Halloween and it was the shit. 10/10 would recommend.

haunted

As you’ve probably gathered, from my choice of reading material and also my interest in the occult, that I’m really down for creepy shit. Down, that is, until something makes me fall on my ass from a high amount of emotional distress.

This is one of the stories that I have that is actually scarier than the rest. The one that I’m sharing today happened at my fiance’s parents’ home when we lived there. My best friend, now sister-in-law, was also living there, in the bedroom next to mine. We spent a lot of time together because we were dating brothers and I think, if my memory served correctly, that the  boys were packing supplies for a camping trip while my sister and I hung out in her room.

My sister is also one of those people who attracts weird entities into her life but she usually ends up bringing in entities that aren’t… so… good. She’s totally not afraid of anything, except for dogs dying in movies, so nothing ever freaks her out. This was one of the few times that I’ve seen legitimate anxiety about something paranormal flicker in Sammy’s eyes, even though it was brief.

My sister’s room is on the second story of the Cotham residence. It is at the end of a straight hallway, so the end said hallway dumps right at her door. You have a clear view of all the other rooms from her bed. My mother-in-law had three cats and no dogs when I was living there. We tolerated the cats but we didn’t let them into our rooms. This one particular night all the cats were meandering in the hallway, just being weird and creepy like cats often are. Two of them, very social and not easily startled, looked up at the hallway ceiling and bolted. Sammy and I were like “Whatevs, cats are totally tiny aliens” and continued on with our conversation. The third cat, who’s normally skittish and nervous, was frozen in place, swishing her tail, and staring at the ceiling from the opposite end of the hallway.

At this point, we’re getting confused. This is very uncharacteristic behavior for these cats, they’re acting completely different than they normally do, but we shrugged it off. You know, like adults. We turned away from the weird behavior of the cat and the moment we did, this fucker ran away like it had been shot. I was holding my phone, or a book (probably a book), and I remember the distinct feeling of my body freezing from terror when I looked up.

My legs went completely numb, I shivered, and hot tears filled my eyes. There, in the hallway, on the ceiling, was a dark mass shaped like something horrible. It looked like an upside down Spider-Man, only its head was turned completely upside down. No scary snake tongue like Venom – just long, sinister limbs and blackness. I didn’t even have time to tell my sister because she looked up the very next second and jumped. What the fuck was that thing?! To this day, I still have no idea. It was gone almost as soon as it had appeared and I was so not about to go look for a potential demon. I’ve seen scary movies and I’m a fragile white girl – with the exception of Buffy, we don’t do so good on demon hunts. We screamed for the boys, they came upstairs, and still don’t believe us, even after seeing our shocked expressions. I had trouble sleeping that night. Sammy was fine, it takes a lot for something to spook her. I don’t think my sister brought that into our home. My theory is that it was probably the spirit of a less-than friendly relative who fed on the negativity and general dislike in the house. There was a lot of anger and sadness lingering at the Cotham’s. I won’t get into details today because its something I’d rather talk about later, but I will say that a lot of messed up shit went down when Jay was a kid.

If anyone has any ideas about my theory or another theory to explain the Spider-demon-fucker that would be super. My sister and I both saw it and still like to reminisce on the occasion, so I know that it wasn’t a dream or a hallucination. My mother-in-law has also has demon related stories to tell about her house so I’m leaning towards it being localized and not a spontaneous incident.

Carry on,

The Book Witch

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books

An Announcement & a Book Review

Hello, friends. Again, terribly sorry that I haven’t been posting. The thirteen hour days are completely exhausting me and I’m trying to put sleep over hobbies. You know when you’re so tired that literally nothing sounds fun or pleasant? That was my last week. So unfortunately, I won’t be completing 30 Days of Book reviews. Instead, I’ll post one review and one personal post a week (on Tuesday / Thursday). I would love to keep doing this project but to be completely honest, it was starting to take the fun out of posting. I work much kinder schedules on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that will be easier and much more cathartic for me than “Oh shit, when was the last time I posted a book review”. Another reason that I’ve decided to keep the posts more spread our is because I have more time to compile a really thorough review instead of “What can I say about this book that will get me to bed faster” and also, I don’t think I have 30 books in my life that I’m so emotionally invested in that I want to give them all reviews. I don’t like giving half-hearted reviews and I don’t like giving bad reviews. I’d rather encourage you guys to read something than to turn you away from something you might have enjoyed.

I started watching Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events today and I can say that I’m really impressed with it. I think Neil Patrick Harris could murder a man, sell his bones on E-Bay, go to prison, and I’d still be excited that he exists. They stuck extremely close to the story and I find myself becoming more fond of Patrick Warburton’ s Lemmon Snicket than I thought I would. They’re keeping all the nitty gritty details from the book series intact and I love that. This was one of my all-time favorite series as a kid. I also started going to the gym again. I would like to do enough squats so that I have the brute strength to crush someone’s skull between my thighs. Wish me luck!

Okay, since I’m skipping some books… here’s a review of something that I really enjoyed.

bookwitch-star-touched

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Summary: 

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

Overall:  9/10

Plot:

I loved this book. It’s another rendition of the Hades / Persephone myth mixed with Indian mythology and mythology is one of those things that I devour in a single siting. I didn’t expect to love this book as much but I remember staying up super late to finish it because it had totally ensnared me. It is a romance story, yes, but there’s enough political intrigue to keep it on the border of something else. The author’s prose was absolutely magnificent. I honestly think one of the main aspects of The Star-Touched Queen that hooked me was the way the author used language so descriptively and poetically. The world that it’s set in is super interesting and well written. Arranged marriages are always something that I dig because it’s one of those topics where everyone has an opinion; when you see it in a well-written book it always makes me ponder about my naturally ethnocentric views and how I should always check myself before I wreck myself when forming a view of another culture. Of course, not all arranged marriages are beautiful like Maya’s. I really enjoyed the added bits about her horoscope. I’m not about to give anything away (it’s right there in the description, don’t shoot the messenger) but the way that the kingdom treats Maya, based solely on her horoscope, a horoscope about a marriage nonetheless, is shitty. She’s basically  a social pariah and I liked that touch of realism in the story (sorry, Maya). We judge people so harshly and ostracize them for the stupidest reasons and this book was a great reminder that even a princess like her can be torn down by fear and ignorance.

Characters:

Maya was the ultimate female lead for me – wary of her husband, calculating, sassy, strong. She was like yeah, you’re great and all but like, what’s the fucking catch, bro? She’s a complete catch. I love how when she feels confident in her relationship she’s a fucking badass queen who just wants to protect her husband and fight alongside him and then when she’s feeling anxious she’s all I will burn everything you love and admire. Freaking heroine of the century, she is.

Amar is totally sexy. You know how you read about a book character and you’re like 10/10 would tap that? That’s his whole character. I didn’t claim him as a book boyfriend because Maya scares the crap out of me (but Chandler, you say ‘Aren’t you afraid of Manon, Feyre, Aislinn, Donia, and Aelin? Nope, they’re my spirit animals. They don’t scare me because they are me) . If I lived in that universe I would nope the fuck out of there before she ended me for looking at her man.

Everyone else, of course, is written with literary prowess. The king’s right hand man is awesome and so is the horse-thing.

Ending:

Not a cliffhanger, doesn’t answer all your questions, leaves you wanting more. I’m patiently awaiting A Crown of Wishes, which is a stand alone but looks like it will have similar characters.

Carry on, see you on Tuesday!

The Book Witch

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Day 10: Anna Dressed in Blood (30 Days of Book Reviews)

Hello daaaaarlings! I have been fairly busy, practicing handwriting for my bullet journal and getting my nails did.

nails

Here are my Donia / Winter Court inspired nails. I am so excited! The length is all natural nail, be proud of me – that shit takes patience.

Today, I discovered RedBubble – which has all the wonderful nerdy things and my laptop is about to look like a terrible assimilation of my fandoms. I know there are purists out there who think that stickers don’t belong on laptops, but I am not one of them and stickers belong on everything.

Let’s talk about some super spooky shit, shall we? bookwitch-annaanna

Yes, it is exactly as it sounds.

Summary: 

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

Overall: 9/10

Plot: It’s amazing. It’s scary as fuck, it’s beautifully written. Kendare Blake kills it with her writing style. Every book that I’ve read by her is devious and enticing. I had nightmares after reading this book and I’m pretty picky with my YA horror books because I don’t usually like how they end up as “Oh girl lives in scary haunted house. But girl meet cute, popular boy?! Girl not scared anymore, boy fix house and girl with his penis. Much scary, many ghost, such cute, wow.” Stephen King meets Nicolas Sparks? No thanks, how about the girl kicks the ghost’s butt and then gives the boy a firm talking to on how he needs to mind his own business and stop rubbing his genitals on her house.

However, the romance in ADIB is on point. Mostly because the characters remain true to themselves (Cas slips a bit, but we can’t all be perfect) and the romance doesn’t become the center of the universe. It’s creepy and sweet at the same time. I’m weird, ask anyone. I strongly recommend reading this if you like to be spooked and also like to be wooed a little. Cas is adorable, let’s be honest. PLUS HOW CAN YOU AVOID A CREEPY ASS BOOK ABOUT AN URBAN LEGEND CAUSE I KNOW THAT I CAN’T?!

Characters: Okay, so Cas is basically a young Winchester and I love him – he’s like Sammy if Dean wasn’t around (I know, I know. Dean dies a lot, I know. I don’t wanna talk about it. Stop killing my babies and then bringing it up) His mom is a spiritual thug, and his friends are bad ass. And then there’s Anna, who’s dead as a door nail and is still like “Hey sorry, but the book is named after me, so like, you should back off.” She also has a feminine side, which is rad, because in the midst of dealing with the absolute nightmare of her house, she’s like “Oh shit, he’s cute. I’m dead but I ain’t dead, ifyouknowwhatimean” and then proceeds to be a strong female character. The characters have realist emotions and hopes and dreams and I want to give them all a hug. Maybe not all, but like, most of them.

Ending: Awe, guys. It hurts a bit. Not gonna lie. However, there is a second book so it’s cool. It’s not as bad as Forbidden or The Merciless but its not like Throne of Glass or Forest of Hands and Teeth either. It’s right there in the middle. Just go read the book if you want a good scare and to feel some feels over a dead girl and a junior Winchester.

Carry on,

The Book Witch

 

 

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