Pardon the lack of posts

If you truly knew me, you would know that I have been suffering from depression. Typically, I would want to hide it and tell the world that I am perfectly normal. Unfortunately for me, that is not the case. Within the last few years, I have struggled with trying to allow these feelings to be noticeable to my close friends. Plus, if you know me, I only have a very select group of “close friends.” For me, it all started with the “Always Keep Fighting” campaign that has been supported by Jared Padaleki and the Supernatural family. With each passing campaign, I got more inspired to speak out about my mental illness.

There is no rhyme or reason to depression. It comes and goes. It’s like the waves of the ocean, if I can use the most cliched imagery in the book. You could’ve had the best childhood known to man. And you still could be plagued with thoughts of depression. I’m going to quote myself in this example.

The best way to describe depression is the feeling of nothingness. Or maybe free falling is best suited. Imagine you’re falling through a black pit, where the sun and everything happy is right above you. You try and try, but you can’t seem to get to the sunshine. And don’t forget the invisible hands pulling you down further into the pit of darkness.

Probably not the most poetic example, but you get the gist.

I’ve wanted to keep my blogs up this year. I wanted the world to see how I could write and get people engaged. However, because of my resubmission, and some hickups in my own life, I have made a snail’s progress in this regard.

On a kind of side note, I do have to make note about how sometimes the form you write on can be a huge motivator. I recently got a new MacBook and all I want to do is write on it.

There was a good month or so last year where I was giving motivational speeches to my best friend because she was dealing with a lot of depression. I have found that I am the biggest hypocrite ever. I’ve let the attention of guys and others to control how I feel about my self worth. I constantly apologize for things I feel that I have done wrong. When in reality, it wasn’t my issue to apologize for.

What I want people to get out of this post is that depression sucks, but there are people out there who can help you. I’ve become such an expert on motivational speeches, I feel like I should get a job as a therapist. Or a motivational speaker who basically talks out of their ass.

I will continue to post more, because that is what I like doing. I want to discuss more literary devices and different forms of characters in my next post, so get ready for that. Thanks for reading and I hope that if you’re going through depression, please reach out to someone. I’m sure someone can either relate, or is willing to listen. Also remember that it is a two way street.

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Resubmitting my dissertation

As most of my friends know, I spent 2015-2016 studying in Wales. What you might not know is that I did not pass the dissertation the first time. I have spent the past six months working on fixing that. All that hard work paid off. I passed!! Let me tell you, it was extremely hard not posting about it on Facebook or any other form of social media. I have never truly failed at anything, so this was something I was not prepared for. I think what got me through the past six months was the knowledge that no one is perfect. And that this did not mean that I was any less of a person. Sure, it took me a little longer than expected, but so what? Even if I hadn’t gotten that passing grade, I’d still be the same, lovable Jillian we all know.

There are a few things I want to get off my chest. I am very grateful for the help and support of my mom. Without her, I would not have been able to do any of this. I will pay her back one day, when my career takes off. I spent a good portion of these past six months beating myself up over how I failed and how I didn’t think I could pick myself back up. Of course, looking back, I did it. But the doubt and anxiety I went through was hard to get through.

The reason I did not post about having to resubmit was because I didn’t want that kind of pressure from some of my friends and family. While well meaning, it can get a little tedious to listen to someone ask how my dissertation was going.

Overall,  I worked through this time with more maturity than I thought I was capable of. Has this journey left me with something more to learn? Yes. I have so many different obstacles to get through, and earning my Masters is only the beginning. Now comes the hard part. Finding a job . in my field.

Here is the fiction piece of my dissertation. It’s the beginning, so it shouldn’t be too hard to follow along. Some of the scenes might be rearranged in a later draft.

Summer with Nana

I can’t explain the feeling so I won’t even try. Instead I’ll tell you what I saw that day. The day that everything changed. There in front of me was the hospital bed filled with a bag of carbon atoms that made up my mother. The nurse beside me was rubbing circles into my already tired shoulder. My air was constricted to that of thin breathes. The monitor beside the bed was humming, as if the act of monitoring my mother was a heavy burden. I smelled the staleness of the mud on my shoes contrasting with the disinfectant that all hospitals seem to employ. My little brother’s worn out red ball bounced off my knee from when he tossed it a moment before. The acrid taste of alcohol warm on my tongue and the small bruise on my elbow caused me a slight discomfort. I heard the noise, off in the distance, of running feet and heavy machinery being lugged around. Someone else was having a crisis, even though my world ended with the picture of a flat line. The white of the walls was blinding to look at as the nurse beside me brought me in for a hug. ‘It’s going to be alright,’ she was saying. I was assaulted with the colour blue; the nurse’s scrubs enveloping most of my senses. My tears and mud covered clothing got on to the nurse’s scrubs. She didn’t seem to mind. She’d probably had much worse get onto her clothing. My brother was clinging to my left leg, his face getting smeered in mud and leaves.

In the distance, I heard Aunt Karly arguing with the front desk. ‘That’s my sister!’ I heard her three-inch heels before I saw her. I thought of the many excuses I could have made in that moment. Each one more damning than the last. But at that moment it didn’t matter about the promise I had made to Aunt Karly about watching over my mom. No amount of punishment would bring back my mom from the dead.

I was wearing the jean jacket mom had gotten me from Betsy Johnson, which was now littered with mud and branches. Standing there with my brother and the nurse, I looked a right mess. When Aunt Karly came in, it kind of looked like the before and after pictures you see in commercials. Aunt Karly was still in her blue ball gown, the one I helped her pick out when we went to San Francisco that one time. Everyone said that we could have been sisters, if I wasn’t so obnoxious about always dyeing my hair fifty different shades of purple.

Aunt Karly gazed at me, my brother, and then at the broken body on the bed. The doctor had left for a minute to ‘use the bathroom’ and I wasn’t sure whether or not he was ever coming back. She slowly made her way to the bed, her fists clenching and unclenching in a rhythmic pattern. She was taking yoga classes as her new year’s resolution at the YMCA down the block from our house. The only thing she had learned was that Chris Stone from the bakery on the corner really likes a woman with the ability to bend.

I saw the moment she realized that her sister was properly dead. The hope that she had walking in; that it was a mix up and Marie was just playing a joke on her, was gone. Her lips trembled as she took my mom’s hand. This was the hand that played the piano for hours till her younger sister told her to stop or else she’d chop her fingers off. It was also the hand that held my aunt close when Jake ran off with some other woman on Aunt Karly’s wedding night. These images of mom and Aunt Karly rushed through me, the outside observer, intruding on their shared moment and history.

***

My mom’s head was tipped back. Her curly brown hair was falling out of its ponytail as the day grew later. The pub around us was a noisy bustle of cheers from the rugby game on the television. ‘Fuck!’ she exclaimed, as she tossed the shot glass on to the table, nearly shattering the glass. She looked expectantly at the lawyer across from us, hoping to have scared him off. He stood there like a robot in his pinstripe suit and perfectly coifed hair. My school uniform was rolled and scuffed. The beer was nearly full in the glass in front of me.

‘Did you hear me Marie?’ the lawyer said to mom. ‘Your house is being seized by Larry. You’re going to have to vacate in a week.’ I had rushed from football practice with my friends to hear Steve, the lawyer, tell mom the news. Steve was a no-nonsense kind of guy. He had handled my friend Cassie’s parents’ divorce and the one thing Cassie said about him, was that he was some kind of robot in disguise.

‘He didn’t even blink when my dad was threatening my mum over who got the prized glass pig,’ Cassie had told me a few days prior. ‘My dad had nearly taken the pig and split mom’s face in two.’

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence, as the signal on the television went out and my mom stared off into space.

Four words from my dad had caused all this.

‘I want a divorce.’

My mom rarely visited pubs before this fiasco. Mom was just starting to think that with my dad’s new promotion at the oil factory, she could finally stop working and pursue her dream in designing dresses. Her mom had instilled in her the importance of making something by hand. Making bags was something that gave mom purpose and a short release from the woes of her marriage. In the days before my grandmother’s stroke, she and my mom had been going at it. Nan thought mom was wasting away in the bridal shop. ‘You should be making the dresses. Not hemming someone else’s design.’ Mom had sighed, letting Nan win this fight. But in truth, mom knew Nan was right.

The television’s signal went back up and the noise began again, as if the mute button was turned off. ‘I heard you,’ my mom muttered. I picked at the frayed table cloth while Steve turned his head away from mom, his face a deep red.

‘Well, good. I was told by Larry that you might need some convincing to leave. I hope…’  he began.

‘You know, you can leave. We got that we have to pack up our things. Despite what my dad has probably said on the matter, my mom isn’t stupid,’ I said, while clutching the tablecloth in my hand.

The texture was soft and wet. It vaguely reminded me of the cloths Nan had in her food closet. The ones Nan had made in the hospital while my mom was giving birth to me.

The lawyer downed his drink, hastily put his papers back in his suitcase, and fled the pub as if he was running from the Joker. Owain, the bus boy, started to clear the shot glasses in front of mom, while not so subtly checking me out. There was a loud Plunk! and my mom’s head had settled itself on to the table. I patted her back with my right hand and held my pint of beer with my other.

‘Is she okay?’ Owain asked.

I turned my attention to him. His red hair was what made me notice him the first few times I came to this pub. The first time I had seen him was during one of the pub crawls my society had thrown together. It was a Highlander theme and we were all supposed to dress like we were going off to Culloden. Kind of dreary, but our president, Amanda Shiever, has a weird sense of humor. I remember him standing by the bar, talking to his friend, Matthew, who was in my course.

What made him stand out wasn’t just his fiery red hair. His choice of outfit was what caught my eye. Instead of just wearing the kilt and holding a crossbow, Owain had drawn cuts all over himself. They were very graphic. I could almost believe his arm had been cut in two. As I stared at him, I could imagine him on that grassy plain, so long ago, in the Highlands. It was hard not to imagine his rough, chiseled face, fighting the English head on. And although my history book says the Scots lost, in my warped mind, Owain led the Scots to victory.

After which he took me in his arms and we had mind blowing sex.

As I stared into those vibrant green eyes, while I rubbed my mother’s back at the same time, my phone went off, breaking me away from my thoughts of Highlanders and sex.

The caller ID said ‘Dad.’

 

****

 

I entered the house. It was a sunny afternoon and I had come home early from football practice to drop off some of the presents my friends gave me for my birthday. My room was at the end of the hall on the first floor, so I had to pass my parents’ room on my way there. If only I hadn’t come home early. The walk from the stairwell to my room felt somehow different this day. Maybe it was due to my legs feeling sore from those one hundred lunges coach made us do before practice. Or maybe the difference was the frilly panties lying in front of my parents’ half open door. The purple lace clashed with the gray wall of our home. I had gone through my mom’s underwear drawer just yesterday to find the money she keeps hidden so I could pay the uniform deposit for the team.  Mom preferred white boxers when it came to panties, on account of it being the ‘practical’ thing to do. Whoever’s panties were on the floor were clearly not mom’s. As the thoughts began to race in my head, I heard it. The soft squeak of the bed and a moan that ended with, ‘Oh yeah Charlie!’ I didn’t think as I pushed open the door.

The door gave a small squeal as I pushed it open.

I wish I had never opened that door.

The surprise must have caused Sheila to jump. When I pushed the door open, I saw Sheila on the ground, naked, save for a kerchief tied around her wrists. My dad was turned towards the opposite wall, clutching his privates.

The room was gray, with no decorations, as if a monk lived there, instead of my parents. So what struck me, as I stood in silence, was the dresses on the other side of the bed. They stuck out like a sore thumb, with their pastel colors and their frilly lace skirts.

Dad had been gone for a few months on a mandatory business trip, the first in over ten years. So, Mom had brought out her sewing kit from storage and made a bunch of mock ups for her friends to see. I had stayed with her for the last two weekends, as her model, while she stuck pins and needles into me. Each time I went to the store for supplies, one of our neighbors would make a remark about how great it was to hear that mom was sewing again. Mom grew up in our neighborhood, and her dresses were what everyone was talking about. She used to make dresses for me when I was a kid, but as dad started moving up within his company, she stopped making them. Dad said it wasn’t ‘proper’ for a women to own her own business.

As I stood there, with my left hand still on the doorknob, and my right hand curled into a fist on my side, I realized that I didn’t care that my dad was a lying cheat. My mom would finally have the excuse she needed to leave my dad and start working on her dream.

‘Gwen…’ my father said, as he threw the comforter over his naked torso. The comforter that mom had worked on for months before their wedding.

Sheila sat there, comfortable in her own nakedness. After all, it was dad who was the one cheating, not her. I let the silence speak for itself.

 

***

The walls of his house were falling around me. I’m not sure why I even came, although now that I’m here I can’t bring myself to leave. After the doctor talked to my aunt about some of the arrangements, the focus now on someone other than me, I fled. I walked the three miles to Nick’s house in a daze. After everything that has happened, he was still the one I impulsively went to when things went wrong. Of course, he was ecstatic that I was there at all, not knowing about what happened. The musty smell of his small flat assaulted my senses as I waited for Nick to come back with the tea. On any normal day I would have refused tea. But it wasn’t a normal day, and tea was going to do nothing but save Nick from seeing the tears that streaked down my face. To his credit, Nick didn’t push me for a reason why I was at his place. He just let me sit on his couch, while we listened to the Beatles.

‘What now?’ my body seemed to ask me, as ‘Blackbird’ began to play on the stereo.

I looked around the room. Save for the Metallica poster above the TV, the room was bare; Nick having only moved in a week prior. The black leather couch I was sitting on smelled of cleaner, the kind my mom used to mask the smell of Chewy, our twelve year old pug’s, pee. Thinking of mom made fresh tears start to fall down my cheek. As my eyes blurred from the tears, I noticed a red patch of clothing.

I rubbed my face with my sleeve and walked over to the corner of the room.

It was the red dress from the party. Though this one was sewn up where it had been ripped. Presumably by Nick. He was taking a sewing class with one of his friends at the community college down the street.

‘If I’m going to waste my time on something, it should be something useful,’ he had said as he was purchasing the supplies two weeks prior. Two weeks before he showed his true colours.

There was a heart at the front hip. Mom’s signature. This was definitely my dress.

‘I know you don’t really like chamomile, but this was the only kind of tea I have.’

Nick walked into the room holding the mug I gave him for his birthday, the one with the flowers, and a stack of papers. He was biting his lip, which made him look even younger than he was. His brown hair was pulled back into a small ponytail. I had tried to convince him for months to cut his hair, but he refused, saying that it ‘got him so much tail.’ I had laughed at the time. Something I could not imagine myself doing at that moment.

‘What’s this?’ I asked, knowing fully well what it was. I wanted to hear him say it.

I had thrown the dress out the day after that night.

‘It’s um –your dress,’ he said.

The dress was light in my hand. The silky part of the skirt caressed the palm of my hand. A brief reminder of my mom’s love and devotion. The chaos of the evening seemed a distant past as I sat on the leather couch of Nick’s new flat. The only sounds were my laboured breathes, and the washing machine in the kitchen. I had wanted to throw this silly pile of fabric, afraid that it would remind me of that night, but now all I could do is hug the material close to me. If, like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, I could whisper ‘there’s no place like home’ and mom would be alive and able to tell me what to do.

 

****

The tattered dress lay on the floor, glaring at me with its fancy sparkles. My makeup drips from my face, clouding my vision.

Nick.

Three years of friendship.

The walls of my room look the same, but the feeling is different.

It had started out like any other drunken night.

‘I kind of want to tear this bookshelf down,’ I had said, with as much conviction as I could muster. The drinks were weighing down my brain. I had invited my football team to a party at my place and I had already drunk four pints of beer. Nick and I had gone up to my room so I could show him the stack of books dad’s girlfriend had sent me. They were still there, even though I had wanted to burn them. Or at least aim it at her perfectly manicured face.

‘I kind of want to tear you down,’ Nick had said from behind me.

Hoping that I was just hearing things, I turned my attention to the books. To this day, I’m not sure how Sheila had found out that my favourite book was ‘Dracula.’ I’ve never talked to my dad about my love for the book, and she would never have spoken with mom. The copy was a first edition, with the pages frayed from use. My ideal book was always those in which I could see its history.

I felt Nick take a step forward.

‘Did you hear what I said?’ He asked as his hands gripped my waist.

I swayed to the beat of the song on the radio. His hands seemed to bore holes in my sides. I had thought those hands were my protective guard from the outside world till just that moment. Now they are just a ball of lies my ex best friend made up to sleep with me.

I could feel his boner on the back of my dress and the moist feel of his lips on my neck. The dark angel poster above my desk was smirking at me. ‘Look at you,’ it seemed to have said. ‘You’re nothing but a piece of flesh to everyone. You don’t matter.’ The angel’s blue eyes scoured my face for any hint of defiance. In my head, he tilted his head and laughed in triumph.

‘Nick, stop!’ I exclaimed, as I became acutely aware of the menacing look on his face.

This wasn’t an act.

I had started to get chest pains and my breathing felt labored.

‘I know you’ve thought about this too. Let’s have some fun.’

His breathe was brushing against the nape of my neck. The smell of beer and weed heavy in the air around us.

‘You’ll enjoy it.’

His hand pressed my back forward, pinning me to the table. I could smell his cologne. The one I picked out for him. For his first date with Clara. The scent made me gag. He tore my dress apart from the back.

He was massaging my back when I heard a voice from the door.

‘Stop!’

Nick paused.

‘Come on man! What are you doing? You wanted this just as much as anyone!’ Nick said, his voice sounding between a whine and a gloat.

Erick came into the room. His footsteps seeming to ricochet off the walls.

‘I didn’t think you were actually serious. Look, I know you wanted Gwen as much as anyone, but do you really think this is how it should be?’

I saw Erick’s hand in the periphery of my vision. Nick was still holding on to me, blocking my view of Erick.

‘Well, she’s never going to put out for me, so why not now? She keeps talking about this mysterious Owain guy. He probably won’t want her after I’m through with her.’

The dark angel seemed to laugh even harder in my head.

His hands were groping my butt when I felt a force tug Nick away.

Happiness is….

You don’t know what happy is like until you’ve gone from one extreme to the other. As many of my readers know, I came back from a year abroad in Wales. Being back means living with my mom, working at the same company I did before I left, and no friends who can just head to the pub at the flip of a coin. The difference in the night life in America and in the U.K. are staggering. There is genuinely more happy and friendly people in the United Kingdom than in the United States.

Which brings me back to the point I wanted to somehow make in the beginning of this post. “You look so happy,” and “I’ve never seen you as happy as you are right now” were regular statements heard from family and friends while I was away. I kept thinking, “was I that unhappy before? I mean, I smiled and laughed, just as I was here.”

But then it hit me. I wasn’t happy. And here is why.

Giving an explanation to any action is terrifying. If I want to go out, just to go out, I couldn’t here at home. Most of my older relatives or friends would say it’s because I didn’t have any responsibility. To me, it was because I didn’t have to conform to someone else’s idea of clean, or what’s proper. I could just be me.

That’s the glorious part about going abroad and being alone. You really get to know who you are. These things you learn abroad might not stick with you when you’re back, but you will always have that memory of being away and free.

The worst part about being home after a year abroad are the pictures. The pictures your friends post at the clubs or on campus. You imagine yourself there, as if it won’t cost you about four months of work to even get back to the place you love. You can imagine that club scene like you were there with them. Pre drinks at your place, Gassy Jacks right before the main event, and then all hell breaks loose. You might find yourself at Live Lounge at the end of the night, where you will most definitely NOT be carded because the bouncer recognizes you. Or maybe just perusing down the City Center, where you will inevitably stop off at McDonalds for some overpriced McNuggets.

So maybe I will have to push myself to be happy, but at least now I have a goal of where I want my life to be like.

With that being said, I would love to go back to the UK. At the time it felt like it was such a long time, but in reality, it flew by like a gust of wind.

Please follow my other account: Timey Wimey Books

Finding a boyfriend: personality and obsessions

So it’s the new year. Usually, I’d be inspired to write a “year in review” post, but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to tell you something that I’ve been thinking about the past few days. I’ve watched a ton of romantic movies and books. While watching Ella Enchanted the other day with my mom, I said, “I want someone like him [Prince Charmont]” My mom goes, “Well if you change your personality and stop being so obsessive you’ll find more guys.” You know what is wrong with that statement? It’s total BS. I’m 24 years old. My personality is basically settled by now. If I were to change right now, I’m sure I wouldn’t be me.

No, if you’re going to find someone, it’s going to be because of your award winning personality. Hearing that made me think about my personality. I’ve been told by several of my friends that my personality makes people come to me. I’m bubbly and nice to talk to. Sure, when I was younger, these attributes weren’t easy for me. But then I started getting out of my shell and building my personality. So somehow my personality is off putting to some guys? If that’s the case, then I wouldn’t want to be with them anyways. I need someone who can get my quirky personality and knows that I am a little over the top.

As for obsessive, what’s the harm? Someone who is obsessed with something has probably a lot more passion than someone who isn’t obsessed over something. I deeply love Green Day and Doctor Who. in fact, my love for Doctor Who allowed me to go across the pond and find a dozen more friends and experiences. If a guy doesn’t understand that you will get just as pumped for Doctor Who as you are towards sex, than you should probably dump him. And it doesn’t have to be just Doctor Who, although it is an amazing show. If you’re obsessed with something and your date or boyfriend isn’t as thrilled that you’re thrilled, then he is not worth it.

This year, go find someone who is passionate, outgoing, and maybe a little crazy. Normal people scare me.

What now? the theme song to Jillian’s life

Hello readers!

So it’s been three months since I came back from Wales. Let me just say that this has been the hardest transition for me. There was that year between finishing my Bachelor’s Degree and going to Wales that I thought I’d never get past. That year was kind of a personal hell for me. But this time around, I find myself in more personal pain than before. I’m not sure if you guys are aware, but I went to Wales for a year to get my Master’s Degree. Since returning, I’m slowly sinking into a small depression.

What now? Will my life ever be as exciting as it was when I was abroad?

These questions haunt me every day. I wake up and remember what it was like to be in another country and feel like I belonged. Then I look in the mirror and say to myself, “what now?” If there is a theme to my life, that would be it. There are friends I’ve met along the way, so far, who I would not want to disappoint. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing as some people might think. I want to hold myself to the standard that people believe I can be.

I haven’t felt compelled to write so much these past weeks and that’s really bothering me. I make excuses of why I’m not writing and every time sets me back. I’ve realised that everyone is different in their own way and that is the same with writing. Some people can come up with an entire short story in a month, but I can’t. I take months and maybe even years to come up with something that is even remotely ready for someone else’s eyes. The words get clogged up in my brain and I can’t find a way to get them out.

One thing that I have noticed about myself is that I am good with creative non fiction. So memoir writing is something that I do good in. While I love reading fiction, writing it doesn’t come second nature to me. Lengthy descriptions aren’t in my writing style. I’m sure that comes as no surprise that I can tell a better story when it is about my life and the people around me than a world that is completely fictional. Every time I write, I imagine the reader reading it in my squeaky voice and that sets me back. When I read other people’s work, it sounds more sophisticated and poise. Mine just sounds like someone’s dumb diary. And yes, I know there’s an entire series called “My Dumb Diary.” I work at a bookstore. I follow these weird book trends.

Yes, I have a seasonal job at Barnes and Noble. Plus, I work some extra hours at a movie theatre. Not the one I used to work at, but one a few miles down. I will say this. I’m mediocre in customer service. I always feel like I’m somehow doing something wrong and that brings my self esteem down. That’s why I’ve been really trying for a job in the publishing field. Yes, I know it is a customer service job, but it has so much more than just selling the product. I want to be able to edit and have a say in the books being published.

I started writing this blog thinking I was going to put in some great advice about not giving up on one’s dreams, but it just ended up a sob piece about my feelings. I know that I shouldn’t compare myself to others and that everything will happen in time. I’m not stupid and I’ve worked really hard to get to this point. I shouldn’t be down on myself all the time.

I really wanted my other blog to thrive, but so far, I can’t find the energy or motivation to write anything in it. I know the next post will most likely be about Heartless by Marissa Meyer. Please, go check out my other blog: http://www.timeywimeybooks.wordpress.com.

Cataclysmic (middle section)

So I decided to show you guys part of what I’ve been working on for my novel. If you guys remember, I have been working on this novel called “Cataclysmic.” The name actually started as a placeholder, but then as the story progressed, I realised that it was perfect for the story I wanted to tell. So here is the middle part.

***

‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ I exclaimed.

Not only were we in a dark, underground jail cell, but I was trapped with Aaron. The guy who, for all I knew, wanted to roast me on a pit and eat me. We had been previously on a hill next to our high school in San Rafael, California, when the creature approached. After seeing the creature, Aaron had grabbed me from behind and thrown something at the beast, sending us to this cave. After the sensation of popping from one point to another, I was faced with more versions of the creature. Each one was identical to the other, with green scales surrounding its body, red eyes, and a blue horn on top of its head. They each carried some kind of metallic object in their hands. The objects reminded me of the Grim Reaper’s scythe, except they didn’t look old.  As soon as I wrestled my body away from Aaron’s, I was grabbed by an invisible force and thrown in the jail cell; Aaron along with me. The creatures disappeared from view.

There was nothing I could see outside of the bars. No indication of where we came from and no sign of the creatures anywhere.

Inside the cell, there was nothing except for the small orb in Aaron’s hands, which he took out of his pocket. It didn’t cast enough light for me to see the entire layout of the cell, but I could see the rust on the wall next to the cell door. The walls were made of metal, but the torches hanging around the opening of the cave entrance were lit by fires instead of electricity. I tried banging on the door, in a futile attempt to break free. To my surprise, the doors sparked beneath my hands, shooting electricity through my body. I hastily withdrew my hands and took a step back

‘Where the hell are we?’ I asked.

‘Trisha, this might be hard to hear, but you’re in the same spot we were just in,’ Aaron said.

‘That can’t be right. We were just on the hill, not in a cave. Now really, where are we? And what do you want from me?’

Aaron looked at me like he was pained, but I didn’t let him speak. I didn’t want to hear what he had to say.

‘And you know what? I wouldn’t have been in this cell if you hadn’t been following me. What is your problem anyways? I don’t even know you –,’

‘You do,’ Aaron interrupted. ‘you do know me.’

‘What?’

‘It’s just…’ he started while looking at his hands.

His expression reminded me of when Tyler would eat the last of the chocolate candy. Tyler always felt sorry afterwards, but I knew he was only saying that to make me calm down. Looking at Aaron at that moment, I rethought of everything that I knew of Aaron. Maybe I judged him wrong.

‘Don’t you remember me?’ he asked.

‘No…should I?’

‘This is hard to explain. I never thought I would have to explain it to you hear, in the parallel world.’

‘A parallel what? Are we in some form of Doctor Who episode?’ I asked, jokingly, hoping that it wasn’t the case.

I remembered nights staying up late with my Dad watching episode after episode of Doctor Who. We would wait till Mom and Tyler went to bed before tiptoeing into the living room to watch the Doctor save the world from an alien attack. When Rose got trapped in the parallel world, away from the Doctor, Dad had run to the nearest 7/11 a few blocks away to grab two pints of ice cream for both of us, and a beer for him. We stayed up all night crying over Rose. To this day I can’t eat ice cream without thinking of the Doctor and the way I clung to Dad’s shoulder after the Doctor put the device around Rose’s neck, sending her to the parallel world, forever.

‘Sort of. Look, do you remember this?’

He took out this small round object from his pocket. It was the heart pendant that my imaginary friend Leonard gave me when I was 6 years old. It was something Leonard and I used to fight away the bad guys in my stories. It served as a protection amulet to ward off any evil doers in my backyard. Somehow I had lost the amulet once I was 8 years old and stopped believing in Leonard.

‘Where’d you get that?’

Aaron handed the amulet to me. It was exactly how I had last remembered it. It was cool to the touch and a bright red light seemed to glow from within the pendant. I knew this was the amulet because of the marking I made on the right side of the heart. ‘T and L forever.’ I remember the day I put it there. We were in my backyard, under the big Camphor tree.

‘What is it?’ I had asked Leonard, as he handed me the amulet.

‘It’s an amulet to ward you from the bad guys.’

‘Cool!’ I had thought any kind of adventure was cool back then.

‘You should write something on it, so that it can be a message for future you. Like in Doctor Who.’

‘Like Doctor what?’

Leonard looked at me like I was missing a head.

‘You haven’t watched Doctor Who yet?’

When I shook my head, he let out an exasperated sigh.

‘You have to watch it. You never know…’ he trailed off.

After I scratched in the engraving, my mom had called me in for dinner.

I started watching Doctor Who that night.

‘I kept it after your parents told me to leave you alone.’

‘Why would they want you to leave me alone? Wait,’ I said, fully realizing what he meant by that statement. ‘You were,’ I started, unable to process what was going on. I didn’t know how to phrase what I wanted to ask.

Aaron nodded. The light from the orb in his hand was moving in a circle around the cell. The light made the gold tint in Aaron’s hair more prominent.

‘My real name is Aaron Leonard Rodgers. I didn’t want you to leak my real name to your parents. But that backfired once the elders figured out what was going on.’

‘My parents? What have they got to do with ANY of this?!’ I asked, upset that he would even think about bringing them into what was happening here.

‘They are guardians, like me,’ Aaron hesitated, ‘Like you.’

The walls seemed to cave in on me when he said that. My parents were guardians? This didn’t make any sense. To lighten the mood, I said, ‘Oh, you mean like the Guardians of the Galaxy?’ I remember my parents took me to see that movie when it came out. Just them and me. Tyler was at a friend’s house and my parents were both off for the weekend, which was a first in months. Mom wasn’t into the whole Marvel franchise, but she came anyways to spend time with me. It was always my Dad and I who spent most of our time obsessing over the Marvel comics. I was happy to have them both to myself, since that rarely happened ever since Tyler was born. After the movie, in the lobby, my dad had tried so hard to beat me at a dance off,             but he couldn’t get his footing right. He kept falling on the floor, which made everyone in the theatre’s lobby turn to look at him. I didn’t mind at the time, since it was nice to be spending some quality time with my dad.

Aaron gave me a look that told me he was getting tired with my little quips.

‘Trisha, this is serious. Your parents were..’

‘I know this is serious, Aaron. Or should I say Leonard. I’m finding it difficult to believe this is really happening.’

I turned my back away from him.

‘I’m sorry if I got angry. I understand how this might feel –.’

‘No you don’t. You’ve had this knowledge prior to this moment and I’ve been the one in the dark. And now we are literally in the dark. I’ve kept it together when my parents died and when I thought I saw that thing. And even when we first met, I kept my cool. Now you tell me that my parents were some kind of guardians and you expect me to just accept that? Aaron, there is only so much I can take before I break.’

In a futile attempt to escape, I grabbed on to the door, hoping to somehow break free of this imprisonment. Electricity ran through my body, causing me to jump backwards, straight into the wall behind me. As my head hit the wall, a couple of startling memories of the past few months came to me.

It was two weeks back and Tyler was asking me to play blind man’s bluff with him. I didn’t want to play, but he kept insisting. To shut him up I put a blindfold on him and told him to wait thirty seconds. With his eyes covered, I made my way to the small shed outside by the pool. There was a hammock in there that I claimed as my own when we moved in. After ten minutes, I heard Tyler open the back door. It was a hot day out and I was sitting in the hammock in my bathing suit. The next door neighbor’s backyard was being renovated so every now and then the sound of a jack hammer could be heard.

I tried to crouch down below the Bay windows, but this didn’t seem to work.

‘Trisha, I know you’re there,’ Tyler said.

After a moment, I heard Tyler sigh.

‘Okay, so you don’t want to play with me. I get it. But do you really think that hiding yourself in your room will change the fact that our parents are gone? I kind of thought coming to San Rafael would bring us closer together, but all you’ve been doing is moping. I’m going inside to watch Netflix. You can come join if you decide to stop hiding away.’

I heard the distant sounds of his footsteps as he went back into the house.

As quick as I heard the backdoor slam close, I was pushed from this memory into the next. It felt as if I was slowly floating in the space of nothingness. It was neither hot nor cold and the only feeling I had was of just being in my body. After a few scary moments of me wondering if this was the end, I saw a trickle of light ahead. I started to move more closely to the light, like a bug drawn to a lightbulb.

Next thing I knew I was back in my house in San Francisco. Except everything was in boxes and we were moving out. The back of the house had been boarded off because of the fire. Tyler and Aunt Kristy were fighting over what they should bring back to Aunt Kristy’s place.

‘But I want this blender,’ Tyler was saying.

‘I have the exact same blender at my place. We don’t need another,’ Aunt Kristy argued. We all knew who would win this fight. Tyler, once he set his mind on something, always got his way.

The front of the house looked nothing like it once did. All of the pictures of Mom and Dad were packed away and the only picture that adorned the shelf above the couch was the one of Tyler and I at the Marin County Fair. We were sitting on the benches in front of the merry go round eating our ice cream cones and looking at the new iPod mom got me for my birthday. It was the day Dad had gotten that promotion at his work. He had been working tirelessly to get the promotion at his law firm, and when his boss had fired one of the other lawyers, they decided to finally give him it. We woke up early that morning to make it early to the fair. It felt like luck was on our side that day when we missed the traffic getting out of San Francisco and gotten free upgrades to cut in line at the fair.

‘Oh I want this,’ Tyler said.

He had walked in to the living room while I was checking out the picture.

He was starting to get taller, like dad. He was already almost to my shoulders. I unfortunately took after my mother and stopped growing when I was 12, five years ago.

‘Well too bad. I’m taking it. It’s going to stay in my room,’ I said, hoping to put some older sister authority to my voice.

‘That’s not fair. I called it first. You were just staring at it. So there,’ he said, while sticking out his tongue.

‘You got everything that you wanted. I just want this picture,’

‘I got the frame, so it’s mine,’

‘You can have the frame. I want the picture.’

‘That’s not how it works,’ I half yelled, grabbing the picture.

‘Yes it is. You don’t know.’

He grabbed the other end.

We continued to fight over the picture when the doorbell rang. It surprised me enough that I jumped, causing the picture to fly out of both our hands, smashing against the wall.

Tyler’s eyes started to well up with tears.

‘You couldn’t let me have this one happy memory, could you?’ he asked, stomping down the hall to the bathroom that wasn’t taped off by the fire department.

The doorbell rang again.

I rubbed at the tears threatening to fall from my eyes.

When I opened the door, Jake was standing there wearing his work uniform. He worked at a movie theater and they made him wear these horrendous black polo shirts with a movie title on the back. His hair was still as floppy as I remembered it the last time I saw him, in the hospital.

‘Jake? What are you doing here?’

‘Well I hadn’t heard from you since the hospital. And I was worried about you. I didn’t get a chance to talk to you at the funeral. You left before I could say anything.’

I didn’t know what to say. I had never been that great at confronting people. Even telling him how I felt about him four months ago was the hardest thing I had to do.

‘Um… we, ugh…’ I began.

‘Look. I get it. What happened was horrible. I care about you and would hate to see you shut yourself up for the rest of your life.’

I was reminded of the look he gave Jenny in the hospital weeks prior. The look I wished he would have given me. Even in the hospital, she was the one he was looking at with tenderness. I had spent so many years pining over him, only to be rejected; and for my childhood best friend, no less. Looking at him then, I realised that it was useless to chase after a guy who would never see me as more than a friend. But I couldn’t stand a future where we would be friends without the pang of heartbreak. I had to let him go.

‘No,’ I said, after a few moments, ‘I don’t think you get it. I don’t want to be friends anymore.’

I went to close the door, but Jake pushed back.

‘Trish, you don’t mean that. You’re just—’

‘I do mean it. I don’t want to see you again.’

With that final statement, I slammed the door closed.

‘Trisha,’ a voice called from somewhere.

‘Trisha, wake up!’

‘Wah?’ I exclaimed.

‘That’s it. Breathe. In. Out. Good.’

‘Aaron?’

‘Oh thank God! I was worried the shock from the bars had killed you.’

When I opened my eyes, I could see Aaron crouched down in front of me. The orb with the light was in between us, illuminating our faces.

‘Am I really a cold hearted bitch?’ I asked.

Aaron furrowed his brow.

‘No. Why would you think that?’

‘It’s just,’ I began, ‘I didn’t care to hear you out and I’ve been distant with everyone.’

‘That’s normal. You’ve gone through a lot in the past few months. I would have been more concerned if you didn’t freak out.’

I nod, not knowing what to say after that. Aaron offered me his hand. When I stood up, I felt as if the world was spinning around me. Aaron steadied me with his hands.

‘Your hair looks like it’s trying to do the wave,’ Aaron joked, trying to lighten the mood.

‘What do you mean?’ My hands went up to my hair.

‘It’s just from the electricity that you touched. Don’t worry about it.’

There was an awkward silence.

‘So, what were you talking about earlier?’ I asked.

‘Well, as I was saying before you touched the bars,’ Aaron started, ‘Your parents were never supposed to be together. But, because they are, things are getting crazier by the minute.’

A sudden chill ran through me. What did that mean, that they weren’t supposed to be together?

‘Why weren’t they supposed to be together?’

Aaron bit his lip.

‘Well, it’s complicated. They are from two different worlds, for one. The other reason, well, I can’t tell you.’

Aaron looked at me, pleading with me not to pry. As much as I wanted to figure out the other reason, I let that one slide. If I was going to get anything out of Aaron, I would have to start trusting him to give me the information I needed.

‘Okay, I’m not going to pry about that last one,’ I began, not particularly fond of dropping the subject. ‘But why do you look different than when I was little?’

The amulet, heavy in my hand, brought back memories of Saturday nights playing around the garden in the backyard, facing off faeries and ogres. Leonard had always had freckles and brown hair in the memories brought back by the amulet. He didn’t have the golden blonde hair and green eyes that Aaron has. These two images clashed with the solid form of the amulet. If Aaron wasn’t Leonard, then why would he possess the amulet?

‘It’s the machine. Watch.’ Aaron said.

He pressed a button on the orb in his hand. Suddenly, his appearance started to change. His image was pixelating, like when a picture on Facebook is loading. There was a bright light that came, as if, from around him. I covered my eyes. When the light seemed to fade away, I uncovered my eyes to find Leonard standing before me. We were silent for a minute as I took the sight of him in.

I babbled a few incoherent questions, unsure of how to respond in this situation.

‘Just think of it as a holographic projection. The machine can make you think what it wants you to think. It’s a lot of science stuff, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough Doctor Who, which I convinced you to watch, to imagine what is happening. I’m not sure myself on the mechanics of it, since the elders only told me which buttons to push.’

‘But that doesn’t explain how you were only visible to me and no one else. And how we ended up in this cell.’

‘It’s complicated. Lets just say that there are two worlds connected by a big machine, that must be protected at all costs. That’s really as far as I can tell you now. We will have to wait till we see Ada to give you the full scope of what this is.’

‘Who is Ada?’ I asked.

‘She’s my tutor.’

I didn’t want to believe a word he was saying, but the evidence was staring me in the face.

‘But why create such a device?’ I asked.

‘The elders in my world believed that by connecting the worlds, we could end the reign of the darkness that was coming over us. Look, we can sit here all day and discuss this, but it’s useless without Ada here to explain it. We need to think of a way to get out of here.’

‘But that doesn’t explain –,’ I began to say, as the cell doors opened.

Going unnoticed as Aaron and I talked, the lights had gone on in front of the cell. I could see more of the cave wall illuminated by the torches carried by the two people in front of the cell.

One of them was one of the creatures, and the other was…Jake.

Instead of the clean shaven face I was used to, here was a guy I barely knew. His face was painted with cuts and bruises, and his right eye was barely staying open. His clothes were tattered and he held his right arm close to his chest. I wondered if he had been following us from the hill.

‘Hurry. We’ve got to go!’ Jake said.

Aaron had taken a step back.

‘No. There’s no way I’m going with you,’ Aaron said.

I turned a questioning gaze at Aaron.

‘Why shouldn’t we?’

‘Trish, you don’t know him. He is a robot created by Baltazar and his only objective is to take you to his master and torture you.’

‘That can’t be—,’ I started.

‘It’s true Trish,’ Jake said. ‘I was made to befriend you and take you when Baltazar gave the signal.’

‘See, I told you,’ Aaron said with a smirk.

‘But, I’ve changed. When I met Jenny, something clicked for me. It’s not something I can really explain. Aaron here probably knows more about it since he was your imaginary friend.’

I was in shock. I had thought that Jake had somehow gotten through the parallel world, or wherever we were, and came to save us. But as I looked at Jake, as if for the first time, I realised that I didn’t really know him at all. I guess my brain had filled in what it thought was a reasonable story for Jake. But none of this explained the creature next to him.

‘If you are here to help us,’ I asked, while pointing at the creature, ‘then why did you come with that?’

As if he anticipated this precise question, Jake got something out of his pocket. It looked like a remote control.

‘I found this in the laboratory down the hall, after I went against the other mutants. It’s still in the prototype phase, but it works pretty well. It’s a Hypno Ray. Look.’

Jake pointed the device at the creature, or mutant as he called it. Jake pressed a button and said, ‘turn to your left.’ The mutant actually moved to the left.

‘Now, do the Macarena.’

True to the gadgets’ scientific properties, the mutant actually started dancing! I started to walk towards the opening when Aaron grabbed my wrist.

‘Stop. This might be a trap. Jake was made to do one thing only. And that was to gain your trust to bring you to Baltazar so he can have you destroyed.’

I was starting to get tired of their bickering.

‘Explain to me this. Why does Baltazar even want to destroy me? What have I ever done to deserve this?’

Aaron’s grip on my wrist loosened and I could see in the periphery of my vision that he was biting his lip. Obviously, this was something I wasn’t supposed to know about.

‘Well, uh…it’s complicated–,’ he began.

‘Come off it Rodgers. She has a right to know. Look, if you don’t believe that I’m on your side, look at this.’

Jake turned around and grabbed the hem of his shirt. The shirt was then pulled up and on the bottom of Jake’s spine was a hatch door for what could have been a battery. The hatch door was the same colour of Jake’s skin. Inside was a bunch of muscles and a few wires, which didn’t seem to be in any coherent order. They were a jumbled up mess, save for the few wires that looked to have different coloured wiring strung together.

‘See? I’ve rerouted the instructions to my system. I am my own man now.’

Not having been too familiar with standard robotics, I was still equally confused. Aaron, however, seemed to find this an acceptable response. After a moment’s silence, he walked outside of the cell doors.

Following suit, I got out of that cell.

Aaron was busy studying the door on Jake’s spine.

‘But how? I mean…’

‘I guess what Baltazar never counted on was his pets getting real human feelings.’

I continued to stare at the two of them.

‘So Trisha, you were asking about why you were important to Baltazar.’

‘Jake, don’t,’ Aaron said.

‘She should know why they want –,’

Before he could continue, there was a long piercing shriek. It was inhuman in nature and seemed to make Aaron and Jake tense up. The mutant started getting more animated next to me.

‘Shit!’ Aaron exclaimed.

‘Trisha, we need to go. Now!’ Jake barked.

The noise had come from the tunnel to our left, so Jake turned to go out the right one, Aaron following suit.

I turned to follow them, but the mutant grabbed my arm; its claws digging into my flesh. Jerking my arm back and forth, I tried yanking myself away from the mutant, to no avail.

‘Trish!’ Jake yelled. He tossed something small into the air. I extended my other arm out and caught the object. It was the Hypno Ray.

‘How do I use it?’

‘Push the green button and tell the mutant what to do.’

I pushed the button and told the mutant to let go of my arm. It didn’t budge.

‘It’s not working!’

‘Keep doing it. Baltazar’s voice is getting through his circuitry. The Hypno Ray will need extra power to work because of the pull of Baltazar’s voice.’

I kept my finger on the button and repeated what I wanted it to do. After a few minutes, the resolve on his face was breaking. Its hands started to lose their slack on my arm. Eventually I broke free of the mutant.

‘Go to sleep,’ I told it. Lucky for me, it followed my command.

As I followed Aaron and Jake, I began to feel a chill creep onto me. I hadn’t expected to enter chilly weather when I woke up that morning. The corridor we were running through was dark, save for the torch on the wall every five feet. I could still hear the noise from behind us, but it got fainter as we got further in the cave.

After a good ten feet, Jake yelled back at us.

‘Found it!’

I was so focused on getting farther from the cell, I hadn’t realised that they had stopped, causing me to bump into Aaron.

‘Oomf! Sorry! What did you find?’

From the faint glow of the torch a few inches next to him, I could see Jake’s hand go towards a chord in the wall.

‘This.’ A hatch opened up in the ceiling, revealing some light.

‘How did you know that was going to be there?’ Aaron asked. With the light above, Aaron’s expression was visible. He clearly didn’t believe this stroke of luck that led us to safety.

‘I stole one of the cave plans from Baltazar’s desk before I came to rescue you.’

‘You made it into his chamber without detection?’ Aaron asked.

‘Well he hadn’t figured out I went rogue till just now, when he discovered the bodies. The room’s security system okayed me entry because of my DNA.’

In the distance I heard barking, growing nearer and nearer.

‘Guys! Let’s figure this out after we get above ground!’ I yelled.

Hwyl fawr Wales!

Croeso readers! (That’s welcome in Welsh)

I haven’t posted in two weeks and I am ASHAMED!!!

*edit: it’s been three.

** edit: It’s been about a month since I started this post.

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So what’s been happening in my life, you ask? Well, tons of things. I will try and plan it out for you guys.

PACKING!!!! 

I’ve started packing and it’s making me a little teary eyed just thinking about it. I’ve spent the past year in Wales and to go home will be bittersweet. I’ve had to purchase two boxes to ship back home and I’m still struggling to get everything in my suitcase. I have one giant suitcase that I will be checking in to the plane, and a carry on suitcase that is currently filled with most of my wardrobe. I swear, I came to Cardiff with the carry on holding all of my clothes and now I have to divide it all up.

TWO MORE WEEKS TILL I GO HOME!!!

(actually, it’s really only five days. Cause I forgot to post this.)

I can’t believe it’s almost time! My life has changed so much throughout this trip. I’ve figured out a lot about myself as a person and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve had so much fun getting to know new people and see new things.

****

I’ve been the worst blogger ever! I forgot to post this update for the longest time. So instead of having a countdown like I wanted, you basically get a post of random stuff to look at. I can’t decide whether I’m nauseous or hungry. Come on stomach! Work with me here! Anyways, I’m currently waiting for the bus to the airport. It’s been a long journey to today. Packing was a pain and lugging a whole year’s worth of clothes and memories around is taking its toll on my back already.

The worst part of travelling is the constant waiting around. You get to places early, hoping to make sure you don’t miss your bus. No, plot twist! You don’t miss the bus. You actually are a half an hour early. Now you’re faced with the inevitable waiting around. Because not all places have outlets and you don’t want to walk around with two suitcases to a place that does, you have to limit your time on your phone. You brought two books, but who has the energy to stare at a book? Yeah, I’m that exhausted. Not to mention that by the time I get on the plane, I’ll have been awake for a good 24 hours, with maybe one or two hours of nap time in between.

***

I did it again! I forgot to post this!! Okay so I’m back in the States. I can’t believe a year has already gone by! I miss everything about Cardiff at the moment. From the clubs to the annoying seagulls screeching at five in the morning. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s over. There are so many memories that I’ve had that I would not change for the life of me. Some of them are grand memories and others are just small memories. Like the time I went to McDonalds at one in the morning with my friend Sanja.

I think this whole experience has changed me and I’m loving it.

There is so much I want to talk about, but honestly? I can really only sum it up by saying that it was the best time of my life. I’m so grateful to all of the friends I made along the way. Definitely made the trip worth while. Every moment was spent enjoying a new land.

When you study abroad, you get to see the day to day things that travellers rarely get to see. I got familiar with a lot of the streets of Cardiff and have some basic knowledge of where to go when you want to party. Favourite place to go is definitely Live Lounge. Well, at least for a good dance off.

In the beginning of the year, there were so many things I hadn’t done in college. I didn’t have the experience of bar hopping (or pub crawling) with friends and spending time with friends was something a little new to me. When you get accustomed to being the loner and the one who isn’t invited to most of the parties, you tend to be very skeptical when people start hanging around you for a longer period of time. So I think I’ve learned a lot more social queues than my four years in college.

I will end this post saying that this was only the start of my journey. I have so much more to offer the world and I hope to see more of it.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book review

It’s Harry Potter time!

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I cannot tell you how I’ve been dreading this review. I’ve read plenty of reviews of this book and it almost feels like a broken record. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child came out this month and it’s been taking over the internet. I think we all know the plot line of this book so far, but I’ll give my own summary of it.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follows Albus Potter and Scorpious Malfoy as they take on the legacies of their famous fathers. Albus, feeling lost and alone, befriends Scoprious, who everyone believes is Voldemort’s son. These two kids form a bond. As they progress in the school of Hogwarts, Albus starts feeling resentful of his father. So he steals a time turner and goes into the past with Scorpious to save Cedric Diggory.

I wasn’t really that enthused with this new book. I had a feeling that it wouldn’t live up to the other seven books, and I feel like I was partly right. But more on that later.

I actually didn’t preorder the book until two days prior to the release. I was waiting for this book talk with this author, Owen Sheers (“I Saw a Man”) when I just felt the urge to get the book. It was literally like someone spoke in my ear and told me to do it. Well, I would hardly call it magic since I have a problem with walking into a bookstore without buying a book.

The release party was really dull. There was a scavenger hunt but it didn’t really prove to be a challenge. Funniest part was when I had a group of people following me because they said that “I look like I know what I’m doing.” Hahahaha! Not exactly what I remembered for the other novel releases. But what did I expect? Nothing could compare to the releases of the original Harry Potter books.

On to the review!!!!

This book was great… until part 2. Honestly, this review is going to be about a lot of the feels and excitement I had. So be prepared!

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I love Albus and Scorious! Seriously, it’s like they changed the plot of Harry Potter and just made it about Harry and Draco.

Did this story seem a little familiar? I’m sure Back to the Future would have a say on that. (I only remember the first movie so you guys will have to help me out on which one I’m talking about.) And the friendship of Albus and Scorpious sounded a lot like Simon and Baz from “Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell. Or does Carry On sound like Harry Potter? Seeing as Harry Potter was first, I’d say the latter.

But comparing this to “Carry On” is actually a great way to summarize my feelings for this book. It was great fanfiction, but it seemed lacking in parts. Although I did love “Carry On” more than this book, which is saying something.

Anyways, the relationships are the best part of this book/play. It was great seeing Dumbledore’s Army all grown up. I’ve read a few reviews where people question the role of Ron in the play. I actually really liked seeing Ron, because he was my favorite character, besides Neville or Luna. Seriously, the scenes in the Ministry of Magic with “Ron” and Hermione were perfect!

I think the writing felt too much like terrible fan fiction and could have done better towards the end. The first part was okay, because there was a lot of relationship building, but the second part felt rushed and didn’t seem to serve that much purpose other than giving the story an ending.

This book was a quick read, so I powered through. I wouldn’t call it the best book or the worst book, but it’s definitely a book I would actually recommend for anyone still pining over the world of Harry Potter.

I understand that some people are upset that there will be no more Harry Potter after this, but the story is over. We all have to deal with it. If we go on and on about it, we will probably end up with something like this, where J.K. Rowling feels pressured by the fans to write more. And that doesn’t make for good literature.

It was fun seeing our old friends in this script, but don’t expect the best out of this book. Please go into it with an open mind and willingness to like something that is purely for entertainment than substance.

I’d give this book 3.5/5 stars.

Weekly update 4: 6 books this week and a booktag!

Hey there readers! It’s weekly update time! So most of the time when I start a blog post, I go right into the book updates. But to get my writing juices flowing, I’m going to start with a tag! I love tags!

This is the opposite tag!

First book in your collection/Last book you bought.

I really don’t remember all that way back. But I’ll talk about the first book I bought here in Cardiff. It was actually “Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell. I walked into Waterstones for the first time and guess what book just came out that day?! Seriously, I did not even know it was the book’s release day!

The last book I bought was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Definitely a great read. Will get to the book review once I get the motivation to do it.

A cheap book/An expensive book.

Well I grabbed “Jane Eyre”, “The Book Thief”, and “Dracula” for a pound. They were used copies and I got them for donating to this magazine.

The most expensive book I have on my shelf is “Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief”. I got the anniversary edition and it was about $25. It’s on my shelf back home, but still.

A book with a male protagonist/One with a female protagonist.

Male: Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan. Definitely one of my favorite of his series. The entire series is not out but I can tell I will love it.

Female: Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johanson.

A book you read fast/One that took you long to read.

I read Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead probably the quickest. It was really engaging to read and still one of my favorite series.

Game. Of. Friggin’. Thrones took me so long! I finally finished the fifth book last October and I am so relieved.

Pretty cover/Ugly cover.

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All of these were super gorgeous.

I don’t have a pick for ugly cover. I guess if I catch one, I’ll show you guys later.

A national book/An international book.

Not sure what this means, but I’ll go for an American setting vs. a foreign setting.

American: Mosquitoland by David Arnold I think this goes well with a national book, because it’s about a road trip around America.

Foreign: I Saw a Man by Owen Sheers.There will be a review coming up, so wait for that.

A thin book/A thick book.

Thin book: Soundless by Richelle Mead. I was a bit disappointed by how short that book was. But I definitely recommend this book.

Thick book: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas I don’t know how many times I have to recommend this book till EVERYONE reads it. I loved it so much I have to brag about it to all of my friends.

Fiction book/Non-fiction book.

Fiction: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Definitely the best Cassandra Clare book so far. Her writing has improved so much over the years. I’m hesitant to say it’s my favorite Shadowhunter tale, but it’s getting there. Honestly I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Non-fiction: I don’t read much non-fiction, but my favorite one I’ve ever read has to be “My Foreign Cities” by Elizabeth Scarboro. It’s about the author’s life with her husband who had Cystic Fibrosis. It was so heart wrenching and when I met the author I just could not help but feel for her. I read it for a class, but I loved the book so much!

Very (way too) romantic book/Action book.

I really don’t do romance, so the closest I’ve gotten to that is A Court of Mist and Fury. Oh the feels!

An action book would have to be the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. The next book in the series is coming out soon!!!!

A book that made you happy/One that made you sad.

Happy: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Sad: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

**

Not the most amazing answers, but it’s the best I can do.

So this week I’ve read a total of 6 books!

  1. Conjuror by John and Carole Barrowman
  2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  3. Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johanson
  4. Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins
  5. The Shadow Queen by C.J Redwine
  6. I Saw a Man by Owen Sheers

I’m very impressed with what I’ve read so far. I’m currently reading “All the Light we Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. I picked it up months ago, but couldn’t get past the first fifty pages. I just didn’t like the changing of the chapters and points of view. I’m still trying to figure out what the characters have to do with each other. Now that I’ve gotten a little further in the book, I’m enjoying it a little bit. But not exactly pleased.

My TBR pile is dwindling down to only four books. I think I can finish the three books next week and then I can focus all of my energy in finally reading “Pride and Prejudice”. I still have “Jane Eyre” and “The Book Thief” to read, but I’m unsure if I want to pick those up. I have to figure out what I’m going to do with all of my books I bought here in Cardiff. I’m going to try to send them all home, but if not, I might just sell some of the ones I didn’t like.

That’s my update so far. Check back with me next week to see if I can successfully finish my TBR pile.

The Shadow Queen by C.J Redwine book review

Seeing as how I’ve been writing several edits for my writing portfolio and reading, I thought I’d write more book reviews. So here is one about “The Shadow Queen” by C.J Redwine.

It’s another retelling of a fairytale story. I usually like those kinds of stories, but in regards to this one, I have very mixed feelings. I have an interesting thing on fairy tale stories, but that is for another post.

“The Shadow Queen” centers on this girl named Lorelei who is the true queen of Ravenspire. Nine years previous, her step mother, Irina, had brainwashed all of the kingdom to bow down to her. Lorelei, having similar powers, wasn’t subjected to this brainwashing. Irina thought she could trust her. Wrong. Lorelei worked a magic spell to stop the trance Irina had on the kingdom.

Once her father was aware of this, he ordered his guards to kill his wife. However, Lorelei didn’t think about how Irina would react to what she had done, so her family paid the consequences. Her father told her to look after her younger brother, Leo, right before he died. One of the palace guards, Gabril, helped the two kids escape, leaving Irina to believe they had both perished.

Nine years after this incident, Lorelei is preparing to take back her kingdom from the evil queen. The land is having a blight, which is caused by Irina’s insatiable need for power. Lorelei tries to slowly work her way up to overthrowing the queen when she comes across the mother and her kids. The woman she sees ends up murdering her kids and herself, to save them from the fate of starving to death.

Then she meets this guy named Kol, who is the King of Eldr. Eldr is a kingdom filled with dragons. They shift into dragon form and have two hearts. Their human heart governs their dragon hearts to give them empathy and justice. Otherwise they could easily just take control of every land.

Eldr is in grave peril when the Ogres start attacking. The dragons are having trouble keeping them out of the capital. The situation is so dyer that King Kol has to go to Ravenspire to seek help from the powerful witch, Irina. She makes a deal with him. His kingdom’s safety for the heart of the princess.

You basically know the rest of the story, if you’ve ever heard of Snow White.

This book had such a big hype around it and so I wanted to see if it was worth it. After finishing it, I have to say that I was very disappointed. The beginning did not grab me and I had to force myself to get into it. Halfway through I did get hooked, but near the end I just wanted it to be over.

It didn’t have that many good qualities for me. The biggest drawback was that it was SO PREDICTABLE!!! It took a lot of YA tropes and put them into this book. This book was not original in the slightest and I’m a little peeved that it’s going to be a series. I thought it ended there!!

Also, I was confused as to the relations of Irina and Lorelei. It kept referencing the sister of Irina in the beginning and it didn’t stick with me that it was because Lorelei was the daughter of her sister. It was really confusing.

Overall, I would give this book a 3/5 stars. And that’s being generous. I liked Kol’s character and Leo, but Lorelei was a little… typical of any YA novel out there.