I’m okay with…

Being a little boring. Not having it all together. Not having the perfect plan.

I’ve finished reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson. Not only did it cure my book funk, but it made me think about many things. I’m not too much into self-help books. Most of them contradict each other or just go against my personal values. However, this one gets to the root of a problem I have (please excuse my French): I give a fuck about too many things. My anxiety brain almost makes it default. Quite frankly, having that mindset causes misery. The book really wants you to sit down and think about what you truly give a fuck about.

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I made a list in my journal about what I truly care about in life. It was hard since my anxiety brain wanted to chime in all the time. I did manage it and I felt better afterward. It put some things in perspective. Some things are not worth giving a fuck about. Another hard hitter in this book is the concept of responsibility. Not everything is your fault, but most things are your responsibility to deal with afterward. How you get through painful hardships define you as a person. I’ve dealt with many things badly. Some things I’ve dealt with in a mature and smart way.  The results are important but the process defines you.

There were other things about the book that hit me with a punch. I’m really glad it did. I needed a good kick towards getting out of my slump. When I stated I’m okay with being a little boring, I meant it. I admit I was bothered that other folks seem to be into more exciting things or having epic adventures. I’m at home watching period dramas and puttering in my garden. However, that is just me. I do want to some more adventures, (Iceland and Scotland), but I can’t force them to happen. I just need to try to make them happen. I don’t need to feel inadequate that I’m not always doing something super exciting. Basically, I don’t give a fuck if you think I’m not exciting enough anymore.

 

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Someday…

This book is not going to fix me. Books are wondrous and bring magic to our lives. However, they are not going to create miracles in your life. Manson’s tome has given much more to think on in the future. I still haven’t absorbed everything. I won’t succeed at everything he mentions. However, I will try my darnedest to only give a fuck about things that truly matter in my life.

 

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Book Funk

Say what? I’m not talking about a book that smells bad. It’s more of my state of mind regarding books. I haven’t read anything lately that has satisfied me. I can’t seem to get into any novel recently. I know I made this awesome reading list, but my library doesn’t carry some of the books and others are just too pricey.  I can say I’ve never been in this state before. Books are normally the one area I don’t have issues with.

I think it might be related to an overall slump I’ve had going on. I’ve definitely been in a state of ennui lately.  I thought my brief vacation would help. Nope. The book funk continued during my period of relaxation. I have two book review requests that hopefully will help alleviate the book funk. I love reviewing books so maybe this is a step in the right direction. Perhaps I should read a book in a different spot.

 

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All you need is a bench and some bug spray.

I sincerely hope I’m getting over this book funk soon. I’m reading an interesting urban fantasy novel called The Finder. I haven’t tossed it away because of the book funk yet. It’s hard for me to feel any creative flow. I think that goes for my own creativity and that of others. My interest in some things is slowly coming back. I realize I can’t let myself wallow in the slump. Even if it means pushing myself to get out of it, I will do it.

Has anyone else ever experienced book funk? How did you get out of it?

 

Recommended Reading: Cruel Beauty

If you haven’t picked up Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, I suggest you run to your library or bookstore asap. This book is fantastic in so many ways. It’s an eclectic retelling of Beauty and the Beast with some serious homage to Howl’s Moving Castle. There is beautiful imagery, and the love story is imperfect. True love, at least my opinion, is accepting the darkness with the light. It’s a huge theme in this book. There is also the whimsy of the castle that constantly changes its appearance. There is magic and more fantasy elements to satisfy readers. Here is the official synopsis from Amazon.com:

Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom’s mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can’t resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who’s gotten in her way by stealing her heart.

However, the official synopsis doesn’t do it justice.

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Cruel Beauty

This isn’t a review, so I’m not going to go over each point in the book. The main plot of the book is Nyx finding a way to kill Ignifex to save the world of Arcadia. However, this is just the action that drives the novel. Yes, it’s also about demons and magic and all that jazz. The heart of the story is two imperfect people saving each other. Nyx is not a pure-hearted heroine and Ignifex is a snarky demon. It’s about seeing what is inside someone and accepting it. Ignifex performs his demon deals because he is bound and also he knows that people are full of greed. They are willing to make deals to get what they want, no matter who it hurts. Nyx’s own father made a deal with Ignifex. She begins to understand what made Ignifex the way he is.

Beauty and the Beast is about revealing the prince under the beastly exterior. Belle falls in love with the Beast, which reveals his true self. However, the Beast and Prince are in the same form in this story. Nyx has a beast in her heart as well. This one line in the book stuck in my heart:

“I wanted to hit him again. I wanted to cry. Most of all, I wanted to forget my mission and lose myself in the embrace of the one person who had ever seen my heart and claimed to love me after.”-Nyx

I think this is what everyone wants. Whether it’s romantic love or friendship, we want acceptance for all that we are. Even if you aren’t a romantic, this love story in this novel is amazing. As previously stated, the castle is another draw for this book. It continually reshapes itself and adds rooms. Nyx is always discovering a new place inside the castle. I felt like I was adventuring with her throughout the castle. I like books that draw you into the scenery.

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Morguefile.com

The book does have a few areas I wished could have been fleshed out more. I wanted to see Nyx use her magic more. She trained her, and I felt that some of that went to waste. I really wanted to see how her Father reacted at the end of the book as well. However, this book is still in my head even after finishing it weeks ago. I highly recommend it if you like fantasy, strong heroines, and some romance. Cruel Beauty will hopefully transform you just a little bit.

The Night Court (Kushiel’s Dart) Garden

As a (huge) fan of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel Legacy series, I wondered about the flowers of the Night Court. Some of them I’m familiar with, but others I had to look up. That led to the fantasy of having a garden with all the Night Court flowers. I mean, I have Alyssum and Dahlias. I could plan for next year. Well, some of the flowers are extremely rare, especially the Cereus blossom. Cereus only blooms for one night a year and in the right conditions in the desert. As much as I want this flower, it would not do well. Plus, it’s not something you can get from your local plant nursery. Some of the other flowers are easy enough to get. The previously mentioned Alyssum and Dahlia are common enough. Heliotrope is a traditional garden favorite along with Jasmine, Balm, and Camellias. I think that these could at least be added to my flower collection.

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Red Dahlias.

 

The Court of Night Blooming Flowers is thirteen houses in the books that cater to different sexual preferences. Each court takes a different account of Naamah’s giving herself to the King of Persia to save Elua. Jasmine said she did it for sheer pleasure while Balm states she did it heal the King’s tortured soul. Either way, it was done out of love. The stories just vary on what type of love it was. My thinking was planning a garden based on love. However, some of the flowers would not do well in this climate. Bryony, a berry vine, is native to the United Kingdom. Which means it needs a damp and shady environment to grow and thrive. It would not do well in the hot, often dry south. Bryony is also quite poisonous. With having a dog, it’s probably best not have this plant around, even if it could thrive here.

Photo from Wikimedia commons.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

 

It would be a dream if I could grow my own Night Court. However, some of the flowers cannot be obtained or just not make it. There are some other flowers from the Kushiel universe that would be interesting. I was thinking of Naamah’s Star that Quincel de Morhban grows. It’s a dusky, gray rose.. There are many shades of roses, but not one quite matching the book’s description. There are some close matches, such as the Blue Moon Rose. It’s a dusky light purple shade that almost goes towards silver. But, with all the new rose hybrids, it wouldn’t surprise me if they came out with this shade. With all these rare flowers, I know I can’t have a full Kushiel’s Dart themed garden. One can dream, though. One can still dream.

What type of book garden would you plant?

September Reading List

September has started, and it’s time to make a new reading list. Okay, make a reading list and stick to it. It’s more of a challenge to myself instead of just randomly picking books. I’ve been loaned some books and others I’ve meant to read forever. I’m one book away from finishing the Southern Vampire Mysteries. I wrote about why you should read them in an earlier post. As a voracious reader, I always have to be reading something. Here are the books I want to read in September.

September Reading List

A School for Unusual Girlby Kathleen Baldwin

A mysterious school and girls with unique abilities are the main themes of this book. I like both magic and mysteries, and this a loan from my cousin. You should read the books you borrow, right?

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Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I keep hearing great things about this book and its heroine. A fantasy series with a female warrior is not unusual, but heroes come in all forms. I’ve had book one on my kindle for a long time, so I need to start it.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Another fantasy series by Maas features beast-like creatures and another heroine trying to save the days. Throw in some faeries and you have an epic fantasy book.

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The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Most of America’s children mysteriously died, and those that are left may have powers. Sixteen-year-old Ruby joins a group of teens and kids to create a haven and survive against the forces after them.

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Something non-fiction!

Can anyone give any suggestions? I feel like I need to shake up my reading preferences to include more non-fiction. I like comedy, like David Sedaris, but I’m also interested in history and mythology books.

So what is on your reading list? Feel free to share.

Book Review: Rock Stars are Fun

Rock Stars are Fun by Kelly D. Smith is book two in the Hooch in Hades series and it now gets its own book review. This installation follows Kenda’s friend Paige and her romance with guitarist Kyle. I reviewed the first book and found it enjoyable. Book two lets the audience know Paige better and why she has a grudge against rockstars. There was some pluses and negatives about the book, but overall it was a fun read and great for romance fans. Check out the review below.

Book Review: Rock Stars are Fun

Paige attracts the interest of Kyle and he makes it is his mission to show her he is for real. The book explains why Paige only thinks rock stars are only good for a short time fling. I like the depth to Paige’s character and I felt more in kinship with her cautious personality than Kenda. Her slowly letting Kyle into her life seemed natural, if not a little rushed. Kyle is ready for the next step in the relationship quickly. This part seemed off base to me, but other people may not have an issue with the speed of the romance. However, I did enjoy the dynamic between Kyle and Paige. Neither of them truly let the other pull away.

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There is plenty of chemistry and sizzle for romance fans. However, it doesn’t consume the book. There is plenty of in-depth conversations and sweet moments in the books. Another plus is that this version had less grammatical issues than the first book. It was a much smoother read and I’m glad Paige worked through her issues. Letting people in that you love and trust is difficult. The book captured the struggle and connected me with Paige even more. As I said before, my only issue was the rushed paced, but this wasn’t a George R.R. Martin sized book.

Overall, Rock Stars are Fun was a good second installment and answered any questions a reader may have about Paige. I enjoyed being asked again to review a book for this author. I look forward to seeing more works by Kelly D. Smith. If you like rock and romance, I suggest giving this book a try.

If you need a book review of your work, please contact me.

Why you should read the Sookie Stackhouse books

If you know the show True Blood, the series is based off The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. Sookie Stackhouse has become a well-known figure in the vampire genre. I watched the show True Blood until about season five. Then it just got too ridiculous for me, but the show was not meant to be too serious anyway. I never really thought to read the books until recently. I got the first two copies cheap at Goodwill. I finally decided to give the books a shot. I don’t regret that decision. The books are really well written and they give better insight to the characters people loved on the show. Here are my reasons why should pick up this series.

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Why you should read the Sookie Stackhouse books

  • Sookie is much more likable in the books, in my opinion. She is quite intelligent and has a strong sense of right and wrong that doesn’t get played out much in the show. Sookie has her moments in the show, but she is much a much stronger heroine in the novels. The books are told from her point of view, so readers get to know her better.
  • There is a less dragging out of ridiculous storylines in the book. I found the maenad storyline in the show really irritating. It’s only been a footnote in the books so far. I understand the need to draw things out on a show, but certain plotlines could have been shorter. I really like the flow of the books.
  • Eric and Sam were cool in the show, but the books showed different sides to them. I like when a book gives supporting characters their time to shine. My estimation of them went up tremendously.

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  • Charlaine Harris’ writing style is amazing. It’s not only telling a story, but it is like having a conversation with Sookie. The words just connect with each other without being disjointed.
  • To me, Sookie’s romantic escapades are not as annoying as they got to be in the books. I guess it’s because Sookie lets people know how she feels more clearly. She is direct with Alcide when she tells him it’s not the right time to start something. She breaks it off with Bill after he cheats on her. She does move rather fast, but she doesn’t throw herself into relationships without thinking about it.

If you watched True Blood and never gave the books a chance, I suggest doing so.