Transparency: How honesty in music enhances emotion

Remember that song that seemed to echo exactly what you were feeling? The one that hit you unexpectedly and left you sobbing in your car on the way to work for no good reason? What I’ve come to realize is that the reason some of these songs hit us so hard is because of how raw the writing is, how honest the songwriter was and how much of themselves they’ve laid bare for everyone to see.

Many people don’t realize how personal song writing can be. Now I’m not saying that all songs are personal but the majority of song writers and singers have at least one song that, though vague at times, is very honest and raw. Some of the best songs are these types of songs, mainly because the sheer amount of emotion that goes into them seems to elevate them to another level. People will respond to this authenticity more than they would an act, a song written merely for the sake of writing.

So I’m going to do my top 5 most transparent songs, in no particular order, and throw in a few of my own lyrics, for the sake of being transparent with all of you.

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  1. Alanis Morissette – You Oughta Know

Arguably one of the most famous break-up songs, this particular song was heavy on the anger and bitterness that comes along with the demise of a relationship. Serving up zingers like “Would she go down on you in a theatre” and “Every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back I hope you feel it” it’s easy to see why this song is one of my top 5. The raw pain isn’t pretty in this song but it sure makes for an entertaining listen and you will want to sing along at the top of your lungs, bringing up the memory of your exes.

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  1. The Civil Wars – The One That Got Away

The song that sparked a ton of rumors about the band’s hiatus and eventual split, this song is heavy on innuendo and allusions that caused many to think that it was an affair that split the band up. With both of the singers being married to other people, it’s fair to say that this song had fans up in arms, their on stage chemistry and the statement that this album was “autobiographical” didn’t help matters. Joy starts the song out with a mournful and regretful sound, crooning “I wish you were the one that got away” and John brings more anger to the second half of the song with “Begging for the slightest touch, ooh you couldn’t get enough”, making it clear that both parties were to blame.

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  1. Death Cab For Cutie – Black Sun

This song was actually written about the lead singer’s divorce, heavily alluding to his relationship with actress Zooey Deschanel. The song quietly seems to seethe with resentment and the fact that it’s about the end of a marriage makes it all the more poignant. His words paint pictures of something beautiful dying and it comes forward in the chorus, where he asks “How could something so fair be so cruel, when this black sun revolved around you?”

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  1. Beyoncé – Pray You Catch Me

This song marked the start of the album that seemed to break the internet not too long ago, due to the first half of Lemonade seeming to allude to Jay-Z having cheated on Beyoncé. This album also felt like some of the realest emotion we’ve seen from her in recent years, the fact that the album had a continuous narrative was also a very immersive experience. In this song Beyoncé sings about hoping her man will catch her watching and listening, so that he can come clean, because she can’t deal with trying to stay in denial while also torturing herself with the unknown. Lyrics like “You can taste the dishonesty, it’s all over your breath” and “My lonely ear, pressed against the walls of your world” paint a pretty damning picture.

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  1. Lily Allen – Something’s Not Right

This song was used on the Pan soundtrack and what initially sounds like a pretty, but slightly sad song becomes almost devastating when you find out that Lily wrote it about her own experience with the stillbirth of her baby. This song and her story left me sobbing, so it’s no surprise that I used it as inspiration for one of the saddest scenes in my manuscript. The line that affected me the most was “They kept telling me that it was unlikely, all I had to do was keep you beside me”

 

Bonus: Some of the more transparent lines from my own songs

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I’ll give you what you want and pretend I’m happy, after all I can’t make you want more

I can’t bear to lose you, so I can’t risk telling you the truth.”

“I can’t get over the irony, guess that everything you wished for just didn’t apply to me”

“Dust and tears, I bleed, cause I can’t make you want me. My pride won’t let me say that I’m lost, cause I never took the time to consider the cost.”

“You have done me in, really gotten under my skin, it’s no wonder I fight, only my darkest dreams survive the night”

“I don’t know who to be anymore, cause there’s always something better knocking on your door”

“I’m done, done with trying so hard, when I’m never the one that you choose. I can’t keep on playing this game, cause I always seem to lose.”

“I was here through all your stuff, every time that things got rough, and the sad part is that I’m still not good enough for you.”

“You’re never there when I cry, and this is just a one-sided lie. ”

“See I was walking down the straight and narrow, but you keep turning me ’round, leading my off around dark corners, yeah this is shaky ground.”

“Ooh don’t want to say too much, but you make the world stop, and I fall in love”

“We made mistakes and yeah I lied. We both fell victim to our pride. You don’t what it takes to watch you walk away”

 “Missing you comes in waves. Tonight I’m drowning.”

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Introspection and Injuries: Recapping the last few months

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about much of anything, something my mom has brought up a few times over the last couple of weeks. I think the biggest part of it was that I was dealing with back to back things that set me back A LOT with regards to my pole plans. But more than that, I’ve been trying to find my feet and figure out exactly what I’m doing. I was so caught up in planning for my pole competitions that everything else was just sort of left in limbo and I had to deal with that.

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I only blogged until around halfway through May  and the second half was quite eventful. I had my rehearsal for the South African National Pole Trix competition where I felt a kind of twinge in my leg the next day (Friday) but I just brushed it off and stretched through it. Rehearsals were amazing and I felt so confident. Then came the Monday before comp. Running through my routine I got to a move that never bothers me:

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Shown here during my competition performance

As soon as I straightened my leg up and pointed my toes I felt a pop in my muscle followed by bad pain. My coach suggested that I rest the whole week leading up to comp and I did. By Sunday it felt marginally better but only when I wasn’t using it, and I was about to use it.

My routines were not my best. They looked sloppy because pointing toes became a very painful endeavor and by the second routine, when the move that started it all came around, my leg was screwed. I walked off stage and had to sit down immediately because standing was too painful.

I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, Silvers for both of my routines, but I understood why. I knew I hadn’t done my best, I did still perform my heart out despite the pain and managed to nab the sash for Miss Congeniality 😀

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Me and my wonderful instructor, wearing our medals

Our studio also won the Most Dedicated award (which means we had the most diverse entries and multiple entries per competitor) and we won the cup for Studio of the Year, as we had the highest combined average scores over the solo division (my score was one of the 3 that won us the cup)

I hit a bit of a lull afterwards though, due to coming off of the competition high and being injured. I ended up having to go for physio a few times and it turned out that I had torn my quad and competed with it anyway. Luckily it was just a minor tear and I was able to go back 3 weeks later.

In those two weeks at the end of May I managed to break my laptop and cellphone so I had to pay for repairs on those in addition to all the competition costs i.e costumes, entry fees, travel costs and the doctors appointments afterwards, plus an amazing ladies night out… let’s just say I ended up a broke ass bitch in May.

On the plus side I read Six of Crows and had an amazing time out with my girls, so although it was a challenging month it ended on a good note. WhatsApp-Image-20160528 (4)

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I was focused mainly on gearing up for the National Championships so that I could get national colors for pole dancing. My leg healed up pretty well but I was careful with it as the doctor warned me that if I hurt it again it would tear completely. We started choreographing a routine for August and started running it almost immediately. Around this time winter break started as well so I was on holiday from work 😀 things were definitely looking up.

A part of me was still very much lost, I never fully decided what I wanted to do after school, for the most part I still haven’t. The things that fill me with passion aren’t viable jobs at the moment (writing and pole dancing) and so I work as a vocal coach at a local high school. I love singing, don’t get me wrong, and I love teaching people to sing. But I never pictured myself staying in the small town I grew up in.SONY DSC
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At the start of the month I went to a friend’s birthday party/farewell. She was headed off to Thailand for 6 months to teach English and she had gone to the USA the previous year to work at summer camps. So during the night the conversation came up where she asked me if I had ever considered doing anything similar. I told her that I had considered au pairing straight out of high school but I hadn’t felt ready. At that stage I could barely drive and I hadn’t spent a ton of time working with children. She gave the whole “travel and see the world. Adventure waits and you’re only young once.” kind of speech and it stuck with me.

That night I went home feeling very unfulfilled. Yes, I was content with my life. I had things that made me happy and I had a good job, I had made some new friends finally after battling for ages after all my friends went off to college. Things were just shaping up for me. But I realized that I was just comfortable. I was stagnant. Nothing was going to change for me if I stayed. I would live in that town my whole life, maybe if I was lucky meet someone or change my mind about someone I knew and get married. And I would be stuck here.

I had a dream/nightmare where all this played through my head and I recalled all the conversations that I had had with my college friends every time they were back in town. They constantly ragged on the place, talking about how happy they were that they had gotten out, how shitty the town was and how sorry they felt for the people left behind. Obviously it never occurred to them that I was one of those people.

I woke up the next morning and my mom came into my room as I was waking up and I remember feeling such a strong sense of surety, I just sat up in bed and said straight out “I’m going to America next year. I’m going to au pair”

She seemed really happy about that and we started discussing it in depth, planning everything that I would have to get together.

Comp training was going well and we were gearing up for a local performance but on the  28th I was running through my routine in preparation for the performance on the 30th and I was too low in my Cross Ankle Release so I pushed up into a handstand and felt something in my shoulder shift.

My coach rushed over to me where I lay on the floor and told me to straighten my arm. As soon as I did I heard this terrible crunching noise and extreme weakness in my right arm. I lay there on my back for a few minutes, unable to move or lift my arm.

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We rushed to the doctor and managed to make it before the office closed. He urged me to come back the next morning for X-Rays. I went back and the verdict was in. I had partially dislocated my shoulder and had micro-tears in my rotator cuff as well as some stretched ligaments. 10 Days in a sling and a minimum of 3 weeks without pole or exercising the arm. The pain was excruciating and I was so mad at myself for making such a stupid mistake.

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Here we are 😛 almost all caught up. I’ve been injured for almost this whole month which was one of the most frustrating experiences I have ever had. After going to pole 4x a week, in competition mode I have shifted to being idle and I hate it. Despite what I had hoped my injury was too severe for me to train this month which means there’s no way I will have two routines ready for next month’s Championships. I can barely twist my arm back to loosen my bra, so I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be competing this year.

Initially it filled me with dread and I was very upset but since I’ve been home and on holiday, unable to pole, I’ve realized that I had put myself under too much pressure. I hadn’t realized how stressed I was about the competition and gearing up for it until that stress was finally gone. I didn’t feel ready before the injury and my solution had been to overtrain. My injury was my body’s only way of telling me to slow down after I had ignored all the other signs.

I go back to pole next Monday and I have to ease into it, after about a whole month off it is not going to be easy, and doing it with decreased mobility, weakness and pain is going to make it even harder but I’m glad to be going back. We have a concert in September here in town based around Disney/other fairy tales and my character is Anastasia. She is my favorite and this is something that I am looking forward to immensely.dbbfbb39077dae90dfcb7f8556111199

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And yes, I will be dyeing my hair for it. I’ve been in the mood for a change and considering I don’t want to cut my hair in the near future I figured color is the way to go 🙂

For now I am getting all my things sorted so that I can apply for the au pair program, I’ve done my learner’s again and renewed my passport. Next Saturday I am driving through to Potchefstroom for a seminar with the head of the program and all I need to do is go for my driver’s.

I’ve also started on a new WIP and I’ve just passed 10 000 words on it. It’s a fairy tale retelling of sorts but I don’t focus on a particular tale, rather I am writing a new story with nods to the fairy tales we all know and love. Very excited about that and eager to delve deeper into it.

That’s all I have now and I apologize for the length but two months is a long time. I hope that you all have had a lovely couple of months and that things are going well with all of you. Do any of you have things that are coming up that excite you? Have any of you made any big decisions lately? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

1 Day Out: National Pole Competition

Okay, so as some of you may know I’ve been training for a national pole competition… NBD 🙂 not stressed at all *eye twitches*

It’s not as bad as all that, but it has been a far more intense experience than the last competition that I did. This time around I’ve been essentially training since January, so just over 4 months, compared to only 3 months last time. This time around I did pole 4-5 times a week and last time I only did 2-3 times. I had a costume made this time around and last time I just hired something.

Last comp could basically be considered local and it was tiny, with only 9 items split between 7 competitors across the different divisions. This time around there’s 63 items split between 72 competitors across the different divisions.

So yeah, the stakes are much higher and I’ve been far more stressed about it all. The ups and downs have been insane this time around. Training for this comp completely seemed to suck all my creative energy away because I’ve been so focused on it. It’s been all I could think about for weeks. I haven’t read more than 5 books since training got serious and I’ve written even less. Overall I’ve just been obsessed.

I don’t know how common this is for other people and their “hobbies” . . . I say hobbies like that because it seems strange to call it my passion, though that is a more accurate word.

On the bad side of things I seem to have pulled my quad last week or at least bruised the muscle because it’s very sore and swollen and walking has even been tough, so I took this past week off from pole, which didn’t help the perfectionist in me because I couldn’t practice.

Right now all my things are packed and I’ve set an alarm for tomorrow morning so I can do my hair and makeup before the 3 1/2 hour drive to Nationals…

Hoping I can pull it off and just going to give it my all 😛

My Body: Embracement

 

You asked me if I was smaller today, lighter or less or tighter.
You said it like a greeting
You said it in that tone, the one that implied I should be proud
And for the first time I realized that it bothered me.

I laughed it off because I knew the truth
I knew the stretch of my skin over flesh and fiber and bone
I knew you meant well but it crept into my skin and burrowed a hole in my brain
Questions arose, stark and unanswered:

Why is my value determined by the flesh that sits atop my bones?
When did you get to decide that I am less worthy because there is more of me?
How did it become so all encompassing, how did I not notice it all this time?
How did I let it happen, how had I let it matter in the past?

You think you compliment me with petty lies
My “thinness” has become synonymous with beauty
You forget that there is more to me
You ignore the facets of me that lie beneath my dermis

You ask about me, not about me really, but my relationship with the world around me
How much space I take up on the outside
How much space exists between me and everyone else
Am I seeing someone?
No, I say.
“Ah”, you say, “no matter”, you say, “soon”, you say.

No questions are asked about my dreams or my plans or my worries or my doubts
I am two dimensional.
The only part of me that exists to you is what you can see, where you think I’m lacking
You see me incompletely, you see me below par.
You define me by those boxes and so I always feel like I come up short.

“She’s fat” you seem to say with your endless questions about the state of my body.
“She’s alone” you seem to lament as you tut and pat my arm at my answer of solitariness.

You remind me of the stretch marks that are carved into my sides
You bring to mind the nights tears crystalized into salt trails on my skin
You echo the insecurities, the sucking in, the wishing, the repulsion
You prompt the feeling of hunger curling
You reiterate the burn, the curdle, the acrid bitterness that clawed up my throat on nights when my hatred grew too big for this body to bear

You make me feel like I should be grateful that you noticed me
Grateful that you think I look thinner
Grateful that it somehow means I’ve accomplished something you deem good
You chip away at years of fortitude
And yet somehow you completely miss what you’ve done

My weight is not a topic of casual conversation
My weight is not the same as if it’s cold outside or if I’ve seen the latest movie
My weight is my own business
My weight does not define me
My weight does not determine whether I’m beautiful or fierce or smart or worthy
My weight still troubles me but I’ve come further than you will ever know

Because I have come to realize that my body is a frame work that holds me in place
My body is my home and not my enemy
My body is more than a body, my body mimics mountains and rivers and sustains my soul
My body is my own and it owes you no explanation

You asked me if I was smaller today and I smiled because I know
I know the stretch of my skin over hard earned muscles
Over moderation
Over a body that may not look healthy to you but shows a battle that has been hard fought and hard won.

You asked me if I was smaller today and I smirked
Something you may have mistaken for gratitude
I smirked because I know that you know nothing
That you are the one lacking, that you are the one who should feel ashamed
That you are the one that is missing out on the chance to get to know the parts of me that are not skin deep

You asked if I was smaller today but it is you who is now smaller to me.

 

Displaced

My blood runs deep with red sand and fear
My past disappears bit by bit
Until all that remains are hollows and inherited guilt

I wear my skin like a collar
Judged, sentenced, imprisoned, ashamed
My heart floods but my voice lays silent
Too scared, too sorry, too late

And as the sun bleeds over the cracks in that red sand
The tears run over the recesses in my heart
The hope for the future a distant echo
A forgotten call over a land of sorrow

Am I that bad
That my story is forbidden, that my story is replaced
That I may not know myself
That I have to forget myself?

I crawl over the cracked ground, ground you say is not my own
Crying and waiting and begging that it will one day be enough
That enough of me will leach out
To satisfy you

Where do I belong then
If I’m sentenced to a no mans land?
Who am I then
If you say that the earth that runs through my veins does not belong to me?

Tell me please, because you decide for me after all
You rewrite my past, you have a hold on my present
Please tell me, so that I can give myself over

Roadblocks: When you stand in your own way

How often do you tell yourself you can’t do something?

I can think of a few things I’ve told myself recently:

I can’t submit my writing to this contest/feature/tournament, it’s not up to par.

I can’t enter that pole dancing competition, they’re only picking four people from all over the country for my division.

I can’t wear that/do that, it wouldn’t look good… I wouldn’t look good because of my body.

Now think about how often someone else has told you you can’t do something…

I’m willing to bet it’s less than half of the previous list, unless you have crappy people in your life, in which case I would suggest getting rid of those kinds of people immediately.

It has become increasingly clear to me that I am my worst deterrent, I stand in my own way far more than anyone else ever has. I’ve held back due to fear and doubt and insecurity. I have missed out and I hate it.

I hate that I didn’t take the chances I could have, not the ones where they would have been bad choices, but the chances I missed out on because of my own harsh self-criticism. Because, more often than not, I’ve realized afterwards that I stood a bigger chance of succeeding than I initially thought.

I’m not saying that success should be the ultimate goal, but overall it’s nice. It makes the experience feel a little bit more worthwhile. I was struck by a quote the other day, one that stemmed from a childhood memory of Hannah Montana of all things. I know what you’re thinking, but bear with me for a moment.

In the episode (Titled Good Golly Miss Dolly) Miley accidentally reveals her feelings for a guy on tape and the tape mistakenly gets mixed up with the tape for their principal’s retirement, or something along those lines. Miley tries to get the tape back but after struggling her Aunt Dolly urges her to just go for it and let him know how she feels. She simplifies it down to this one quote that has stuck with me for years:

“If you take yourself out of the game out fear of losing, there’s no way on this earth that you’re ever gonna win.”

I was reminded of this quote a few days ago, when the finalists for that previously mentioned pole competition were revealed. Of course, being the hectic competitor that I am, I googled them and found a few of the submission videos.

Now I know it’s frowned upon and “comparison is the thief of joy” and all that, but I couldn’t resist. I was shocked to discover that I probably would have made it in, I stood a decent chance and I didn’t go for it because I had already decided the outcome for myself.I decided that I wasn’t good enough.

I decided. Not the judges, not the experts. Me.

It made me think: why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we beat ourselves down? When did we become the ones who decide it all?

I don’t know for sure, I think it’s partly due to fear, a twisted kind of defence mechanism. No one can hurt us if we’ve already cut ourselves down to size, no one can treat us worse than we treat ourselves. There’s no need to deal with the negatives if you just remove yourself from the situation.

And that’s sad, it’s heartbreaking how little we actually think of ourselves sometimes… how unworthy we think we are, how low our expectations are when it comes to ourselves.

So I’m trying this new thing where I focus on a positive aspect in any situation, where I try to find some kind of silver lining. I’m not getting caught up in the parts of me that are destructive, that corrode away the bit of self esteem that I have left. It isn’t easy, it isn’t fun but overall I feel like it’ll be good.

The pole competition that I am going for is in three weeks, both my routines are practically done and all I have to do is add the last little bit of polish. I’m trying not to get caught up in the competition aspect of it all, I managed to avoid that last time and I had a fantastic time. I’m going to go in there and give it my best shot, my all. I’m going to enjoy myself and throw myself into it with complete abandon and if I do well, great. If not, I will have achieved new levels of things I never even imagined. Two months ago I wouldn’t have been able to pull off routines like this, so even just the progress will have been worth it.

I hope that you guys shift some of that doubt and pressure off of yourselves and just enjoy the chances. I hope we can find that balance where we’re happy just putting ourselves out there. And I hope that you know you’re capable of so much more than you imagine, get out of your own way and go for it!

 

The Outlander Book Tag

 

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So today I stumbled across a book tag on Youtube created by @sashaalsberg from www.abookutopia.com and I absolutely loved the idea behind the tag, so I decided I HAVE to get in on the fun.

For those of you who don’t know I am completely obsessed with Outlander, to the point that my obsession has driven me to pick up an old idea that I put on the back burner years ago. I’ve wanted to write a Time Travel/Historical romance novel since I was in high school and this book/series has given me the push I needed to get it started. It’s still very much in the early writing/researching stages but I am just SO excited.

Anyway, enough about that… on to the tag questions!

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I love the late 50’s and early 60’s, just the whole rockabilly and pin-up aspect really appeals to me.

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Going to a real Drive-In is on my bucket list and I’ve drooled over the clothes on more than one occasion. Curves were kind of in vogue which I like, being a curvy girl and all, and guys didn’t text you to tell you they’re outside when picking you up for a date. It was classy and a little bit sassy, something I aspire to.

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I’m going to cheat on this one and give two answers, one for practicality and one because I am super envious.

I would like to have healing skills like Claire, I feel like it would be extremely helpful in most situations and having a good knowledge base of natural medicines would also come in handy.

Then for purely selfish reasons I would love to know how to fight, I’ve toyed with the idea of taking MMA classes for ages but I’ve never pursued it. It would be great for when I have to protect myself or others and I would feel like a total bad-ass if I knew I had fighting chops. My favorite character that comes to mind for this is Sandra Bullock’s character in Miss Congeniality.

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I have to go with my OTP for this one and say Romitri from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.They have such an amazing bond and although both of them are such strong people and characters, they still show their vulnerability to each other. Their love is fierce and they fight for each other.

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I feel like their relationship is more of a partnership and that balance is something that I absolutely love. Rose calls him out on his shit, he just smiles and challenges her. The banter between these two is incredible, plus I’m a sucker for older guys, so Dimitri is definitely a favorite of mine.

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I feel like it would be cheating to say The Hunger Games or Divergent, so I’ll refrain from using those as examples because the shock factor is sort of lost due to how well documented the particular twists are. Plus I want to avoid spoiling the Divergent series the way it was spoiled for me.

A book that completely threw me flat on my ass with the plot twist and left me sobbing in the middle of the night was The Fault In Our Stars. I read it before the movie came out and I went into it blind, I didn’t even read the back of the book because I wanted it to be a blank slate. All I knew was that it had a girl with cancer in it.

I prepared myself for the worst and convinced myself that it would be fine if she died, sure I would be upset but if I knew it was coming I would handle it better… So you can imagine my surprise when Augustus ended up being the one to die.

I was a complete mess, literal snot crying and heaving sobs, an ugly cry that would make Kim Kardashian proud.

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While it’s not technically a kingdom with a castle, I would love domain over Elysium or Mount Olympus.

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Who wouldn’t want to live in a heavenly afterlife or in the presence of the Greek gods and goddesses? I feel like there would be so much beauty and happiness there, also I picture the gods as super good looking so that’s a definite plus.

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A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. Also a Time Travel romance (it appears I have a type when it comes to books), I loved this book because it was the first book to really get me into Time Travel/Historical Romances. The main character is a knight that owes a debt and his soul cannot rest until he has helped the woman that weeps in the church where he is buried. He appears to her in the modern world to help her and what follows is a fantastic adventure and, of course, love.

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I will admit that most of the books I read don’t really have battles in them, I lean more towards Chick Lit and Paranormal/Historical Romance rather than epic types of reads.

With that being said I will admit that most of the fight scenes and battle scenes in Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed series were pretty epic. Demigods facing off against each other as well as other gods and immortal beings… totally edge-of-your-seat stuff.

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I’m about to tell you guys two things I really love in a guy:

#1 Sweetness/Kindness

#2 A great sense of humor

Which is why I cant decide between these two guys. They just tick these boxes perfectly as well as so many others.

John Trent from The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot. He gets himself into trouble by trying to help out a friend, plus he brings chicken soup when you’re sick as a dog, wearing horrible pajamas. He’s cute and funny and got that quiet strength that makes you feel safe.

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Alex Sanna from My Curvy Valentine by Sugar Jamison. He owns and runs a bakery… A BAKERY, so he always smells like sugar. He’s hard working and hot as hell, also he values your opinion and loves to cuddle. He also likes you just the way you are and will fight to prove how much you mean to him.

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I would love to visit Atlantis, the legend is so shrouded in mystery that no one can say for sure if it existed, but I consider it fiction.

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Atlantis sounds so beautiful, plus they were apparently light years ahead in their technologies and advancements so I think it would be interesting to see that. Also, it’s a lost world, what could be cooler than going to a lost world?

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A huge part of me believes that everything happens for a reason, but there’s another part of me that hates to see people hurting and suffering. So, I definitely think that I would try to help as many people as I could, if that meant changing the past to do it then I would have to take that risk. I guess I have that in common with Claire 😛

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I tag @NicoletteElzie as well as @yearningtoread and anyone else interested in doing this tag 🙂

The Quiet of Lost Things

I’d never been a particularly shy person when it came to expressing my feelings. I was always that girl that you’d feel the urge to cringe for when you watch her shamelessly laying herself bare. My friends knew when I was mad at them, either because I told them or because I wrote a song about it and sent it to them. Same with crushes… I would either tell them or write about it and tell them that way.

So it’s a strange feeling to be quiet about it now, but somehow along the years my instinct has shifted. It seems selfish to do so now, to throw my feelings recklessly at someone and leave them to deal with the resulting chaos. I have learned that while I have something to say, it’s not always right to say it out loud.

Sometimes it’s better to be quiet, better to leave it be. Sometimes because it’s the right thing to do, the mature thing to do. Sometimes because the chasm between you and that person is so wide that you can’t find a way to send the words across it. So I’ve decided to say them here, to set the words down on this virtual paper just so that they don’t fester.

I won’t go into detail, I won’t bore you with the little nuances of how things fell apart, the cutting words or the trying to forget or the pep talks in the resulting months.

The truth is simple: I lost someone dear to me, through bad judgement and even worse choices during the fallout, and it happened on both ends. For the past three months I ignored it, brushed it off, faked my way through it and convinced myself I had moved on. And it wasn’t until I was faced with the reality of seeing this person, of having to act like I was fine without them… better off even, that I realized how much further I have to go before I can say they really are only in my past.

I spent two days plagued with nightmares of conversations that might happen, scenarios of how it could unfold. Planned every second of the night in my mind, ran through all the options of how I could react. Prepared myself, made sure I looked fine and calm and together. And ready, I went.

I survived seeing them, nodded and greeted, smiled broadly and after a few drinks felt okay enough to do more. We spoke and did that shallow catch up where you smile at news of people you both know, but who somehow now only exist on the fringes of your life, because your rights to those people have been lost. Even ventured into slight reminiscence, fell back into the familiar pattern of conversation, the ebb and flow of memory and knowing. The rhythm of friendship.

But it wasn’t the same, the starkness of what had been severed stood out glaringly, at least to me. It was like looking at a photograph and realizing that they had somehow, slowly become a stranger to you. The person that knew all your dreams and fears, the person that owned prime property on your heart had packed up and left, taking some of it with them. And you stood there, recognition soul-deep, aching with the phantom pain of where they had been.

I know I’ll move on, we both will, and in many ways we already have. I know that one day I’ll stop thinking about them completely, I won’t see things and want to share them and remember that I can’t. I’ll find new friends, dive deeper into the ones I currently have. I’ll remember the bad parts with the good and not hurt. These things happen and it’s a part of life and I’ll stop crying about it. But today, right now… I miss my friend and that’s okay.

The words are not near what I feel, I’m unable to fully express myself but I had to try. So this is my letter to them, the one I won’t send. Can’t send.

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Verse 1:

I made you laugh, heard that familiar tone
Yeah and it took me back, it was just like old times

It wasn’t real, only spoke cause I was too numb to feel
And afterwards I felt the ache

Verse 2:

I kept back my tears, smiled to hide the cracks
Because I couldn’t say I sometimes want you back

Wonder if you could tell, after all you used to know me well
It hurts to see nothing but memories

Pre-Chorus:

We used to talk for hours, Oh look at us now

Chorus:

We made mistakes and yeah I lied
We both fell victim to our pride
You don’t know what it takes
To watch you walk away

If I could go back you know I would
But I also wish you had understood
It wasn’t meant to be
Just hope that you can see
I’m not your enemy

Verse 3:

I hope you found yourself, found what you want to be
Even though it won’t involve me

I act like I don’t care, but it really broke my heart
And I wish I knew this at the start

Pre-Chorus:

Missing you comes in waves, and tonight I’m drowning

Chorus:

We made mistakes and yeah I lied
We both fell victim to our pride
You don’t know what it takes
To watch you walk away

If I could go back you know I would
But I also wish you had understood
It wasn’t meant to be
But I hope that you can see
I’m not your enemy

The Wine Book Tag

I stumbled across this tag on Adventures of a Bibliophile‘s blog and I thought it looked like a TON of fun. I don’t know who originally started the tag, so I apologize, but if you’d like to join in and do it as well it’s pretty straight forward. There are 10 wines/categories and you recommend books based on the description of each. Got it? Great!

 

Disclaimer: You’re about to fall into a big, lovely pit of books… and all of them include some form of romance.

Let’s get to it ^_^

 

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Honestly, I barely ever care what people think about my reading habits but the series that really stuck out for me when I read this description was the Fifty Shades trilogy by E.L. James. It was a couple of years ago, I was younger and stupider (that’s the excuse I’m going with, kay? :P) and I enjoyed the pure guilty pleasure aspect of it all.

In case you’ve been living under a rock… these books follow Anastasia, a young woman that falls for a controlling, commitment-phobic CEO with very “singular” tastes and slowly starts to change him for the better.

I know… even I rolled my eyes writing that, but I liked them and I can’t lie about it now.

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I’m going with a cliched choice, but Nora Roberts is like the mother of contemporary romance. She pops out books so fast I can barely keep up. This one is one of her older books and is part of a compilation called Dream Makers. I fell in love with this book on an eight hour car trip and devoured it while listening to my The Civil Wars playlist.

Folk/Country music + Circus Romance = Perfection!

A young lion tamer, Jo, loses the only family she had when the owner of the circus dies. His estranged lawyer son inherits the circus and spends the summer travelling with the circus to decide whether he wants to keep it or sell it. Jo is tasked with showing him the magic of the circus in order to save it while fighting her feelings for him. Watch what happens when wings and roots collide.

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I absolutely loved this book. Jill Shalvis is one of my fave contemporary romance authors but this book stands out from her others.

Breanne gets left at the alter but still decides to go on her honeymoon to a snowy lodge in the Sierra Mountains, the staff are super weird and she realizes they’ve double booked the room when she stumbles across a gorgeous man taking a shower in the en-suite. There are no other rooms and the snow makes it impossible to leave. Things get even stranger when they find a dead body in the cellar. The two fight their insane chemistry while they try to figure out just which person they’re stuck with is the killer.

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Yes, I know this is cheating but I couldn’t choose between these two. I’m going to break the rules even further by using this category to include all the other books, as both these books are the first in a series.

Vampire Academy had an embarrassing movie adaption that we won’t mention further past this point but the books are phenomenal. I love the main character. Rose is a massive bad-ass with the best voice I’ve come across ever. Plus add the action from the fact that she is training to be a Guardian to the Moroi (good vampires), fighting Strigoi (bad vampires) and the fact that her teacher is a smoking hot Russian Guardian and you’ve got yourself a fast-paced unputdownable read.

Shatter Me is a dystopian novel, the world has all but been destroyed due to the abuse of humans and Juliette passes her days in a mental institution due to her power… the ability to kill with just a touch. The series follows Juliette as she struggles with finding an identity beyond her curse and the possibility of love in a new, oppressive world. These books are wonderfully written, with gorgeous imagery and a lyrical, almost poetic style to them.

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I picked up Me Before You on a slow reading day, I had a massive book hangover from the sheer amount of YA Dystopian I had been reading and decided that a Contemporary Adult novel would be a nice way to soften the effects.

I was wrong. This book totally careened off course, what was supposed to be a nice relaxing read turned into a sob fest. This book pushed my emotions to the limit and just destroyed my feels.

Louisa Clarke is stuck in a tiny town, vibrant but rudderless, recently jobless when she accepts a position as a private carer for a quadriplegic man who lives in the castle in town. Will has run off tons of others with his dour attitude and meanness but he can’t shake her. Soon Louisa works her magic on Will to lift his spirits and they form a strong bond. And that’s all I’m going to say.

The movie is coming out soon with Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (Hunger Games) costarring.

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Honestly, anything Sugar Jamison writes is pure gold but I picked this one purely for the fact that the main location is a bakery and I’m a sucker for sweets and baked goods.

The story follows Maggie, a plus-sized biomedical engineer that quits her job to follow her dream of working in fashion. She lives above a bakery which is run by her brother’s best friend since childhood. Her brother’s sinfully attractive best friend that is very much off limits.

Sugar is a master at chemistry, very tangible chemistry that makes the reader giddy and the humor laced throughout the book will leave you with stitches from laughing. She specializes in feisty heroines that don’t rely on guys but who wouldn’t mind a little love from men that challenge them.

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This was the first time-travel romance I had ever read. Jude is just magnificent and her stories are so multifaceted and layered. I fell in love with this story at fourteen and I’ve read it at least four more times since then. This book has it all, time travel and saloons, love and death and massive inheritances, recurring dreams and life altering decisions.

The story follows Kady, an engaged cook that stumbles across a mystery sale on her way home from work. Inside the tin she buys is a wedding dress, one that fits her very unique measurements. The dress propels her back, just in time to save Cole Jordan from being hung. Kady gets caught up in an intricate story, one with webs that span across centuries and change her life forever.

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Okay so, technically I haven’t finished the book but I have seen the show. I’m currently reading it and I plan to get as far as I can with the series so that I’m ready for season two in April. So excited! Sorry if any of this is spoilery to you, so just a heads up if you haven’t read or watched.

This book follows Claire Randall Beecham, an army nurse from the 1940’s that gets thrown back in time to 1743 Scotland and (so far) tries to fight her way back home. She meets Jamie Fraser and gets caught up in this war between the Scots and the English. While there she falls for Jamie and has to contend with her husband back home’s ancestor, Jack Randall, who is a truly despicable man. Soon Claire is caught up in the Scots’ plight and decides she’ll do whatever it takes, using her knowledge of the future to change history and spare them.

This story is so complex and rich, a massive read at over 800 pages so it definitely ticks the “full-bodied” box. Diana Gabaldon layers so much into this story, it’s more than just a historical romance. There’s war and battle, and Jamie definitely adds to the “juicy” aspect of this with Black Jack Randall being more than dark enough for this story.

Also, a little side note. This is the category that I’d like to think my own series belongs in 😛

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This book is my fave in the Goddess Summoning series by P.C. Cast, it’s a Greek Mythology retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone. Really easy to get through and an entertaining read without being too serious.

Persephone is irresponsible, too carefree and her mother Demeter thinks she should get some perspective and grow up a little. Middle-aged Lina is desperate to save her bakery and unknowingly invokes the help of the goddess Demeter. Lina finds herself face-to-face with Demeter, who agrees to help Lina if she will pretend to be Persephone and go down to the underworld in her place. In turn Persephone will breathe new life into Lina’s bakery. Lina agrees and finds herself in a world far beyond what she ever imagined, and the god in charge of this domain… let’s just say he’s hotter than hell.

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This book was life changing for me, it gave me a whole new perspective on life, love and my faith. Francine Rivers is an amazing Christian author and this book, to me, is her best. The story is a retelling of the book of Hosea in the bible.

It tells of  Michael the man who has been praying for months for a wife, the wife God wants for him, and Angel, a young prostitute living during the California gold rush, the answer to those prayers. The story follows them both as they fight, him for her love and her for the freedom she thinks she needs. As Michael heals Angel’s broken body and heart she finds herself assailed with a sense of unworthiness, shame and fear so she runs away numerous times, betraying him.

This story is about a man’s epic love, a woman’s search for forgiveness and peace and the ultimate lesson that none of that is possible without faith.

 

I hope you all enjoyed that glimpse into my bookshelf, I had so much fun doing this tag. I tag @NicoletteElzie and @Nobodyetall but anyone that’s keen to do this tag is more than welcome 🙂