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.

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.

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.

fidzknj

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!

tumblr_lp9cw6hwhy1qk4vtf

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!

lion-kingbe-prepared-evil-laugh-copy

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.

614e35cd8aeb0617efdd22b110a29cb7

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.

Book/series recommendations 2016

I’ve had plenty of people ask me for recommendations on series/books to read. So I decided to write a top 10 series/book recommendations. This is in no particular order.

  1. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

lunar-chronicles-by-marissa-meyer

This series is Young Adult science fiction. It follows this girl named Cinder who is a Cyborg. She lives with her step mom and two step sisters. She finds herself tangled with the prince Kai. This series is such an amazing read. Each book is based on a different fairy tale princess. Cinder: Cinderella. Scarlet: Little Red Riding Hood. Cress: Rapunzel. Winter: Snow White. I wrote a review for this series, which you can check out above.

2. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

tumblr_static_bidkivd0nio84kkcgggs4ocwo

A disease goes through the youths of the world. They end up with these freaky powers that leave the adults scared. They’re put into camps and mistreated. I loved this series, although it was hard to get into at first. But once you get into it, you can’t put it down. Again, I wrote a complete review above. I put this one on my list because it’s supposed to be getting its own movie, which I’m excited to see.

3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

a9eg4qr27pdkyw8uljpq

This series follows a lady named Claire Randall in the year 1945. After the second World War, she goes with her husband, Frank Randall, to Scotland on their second honeymoon. However, things go awry when Claire takes a walk and ends up going through a stone circle called Craige Na Duine, which transports her to the year 1743. She is taken captive by the Mackenzie clan, where she meets Jaime Fraser. Claire must figure out how to get back, but along the way, ends up giving her heart to Jaime.

What I love about this series is the complexities of the characters. This is a historical fiction series with fantastical elements to it. I learned a lot about Scottish history and the Jacobites. This series brings history to life and you won’t be disappointed when it comes to the thrill of reading. I’m only on the third book right now and I can say for certain that I love this series. There are eight books out so far and two seasons of the TV show out. Definitely recommend to anyone who loves history or even Game of Thrones.

4.. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

13584956_10208084016831644_6911320135766296619_o

I just have to say that the fact that they are searching for a Welsh king made it so much more enjoyable while I’m here in Wales. I loved the characters and the plot line. I think this series has so much for everyone. The series is mainly character based. Meaning that the story moves forward with character development. You won’t be disappointed with this read. To find out more about what I have to say, click the link above.

5. The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard.

redqueen

This book series follows Mare Barrow, a Red, who has some Silver powers. There are two kinds of people in this series. The Reds, which are people like you and me, who bleed red blood. And then there are the Silvers, who have magical powers and their blood bleeds silver. After falling in front of a royal court, Mare is thrust into this world of politics and power. She must marry the prince or be condemned to die. It’s a dystopian setting where the Silvers hold hierarchy over the Reds. There are two books currently out in the series and I cannot wait for the third one. The twist at the end of the first book though. I’m still shocked.

6. Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johanson.

tearling

This series follows Kelsea Raleigh, Queen of the Tearling. She was in hiding for most of her life after her mom died and her uncle took over the throne. Kelsea must take back her throne and defeat the Red Queen, who is a crazy lady who only wants power. Kelsea’s mom made a deal with the Red Queen to send twice a year a shipment of her people to Mortemese. (I don’t think that’s how you spell it.) When Kelsea stops this shipment, she openly declares war with the Red Queen. Kelsea herself has powers and must learn to control them. The setting is centuries after the Crossing. Which was around the year 2080 or so. Basically, people went on a ship to find this other land and start a new life. Definitely worth a read. The third and final book is coming out at the end of this year.

One thing that was particularly different than most other stories of this kind is the absence of a love triangle or some guy holding the girl back. While there is some form of love or infatuation in the first book, and some in the second, the series does not focus on that. It focuses on the political portion of the plot. I didn’t really like the first book because it was really confusing. But the second book definitely gave more background as to the setting and answers a bunch of questions that I had about the Crossing.

7. A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

maas-court2-min

This series is just… ahhh!!! There is no other way to describe it. Along with “Throne of Glass” which I will talk about later, Sarah J. Maas has a way with words. This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast… but with faeries and magic. Honestly, I wrote a great review on this series and I cannot start having feels again so soon. Rhysand!!!

8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

12689527

Basically this story focuses on this girl named Celaena who is an assassin. She is thrown into this game of the king’s to be his assassin. The king has banned magic and magical things keep happening around Celaena. Here’s the Goodreads synopsis since I’m apparently doing a horrible job at describing this series.

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Definitely worth the read. The fifth book comes out in September and I’m super excited to read what’s in store for Celaena.

9. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

IMG_0903

Definitely a summer read. I loved this book so much and was so glad that I did read it during the summer. If you want a summer contemporary book, this is the book for you. Read my review for more info and some great pictures.

10. “Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell

16515430-_sx540_

So if you’ve read “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell, you will know that this is the book that Kat is so obsessed with. Don’t worry, if you haven’t read that book, you can still read this book. It’s very Harry Potter like. It centers on this kid who is a foster kid and his journey to this magical place. I feel like I’m forgetting a lot of the major details, but it’s all in the book review above. I loved this book so much and would highly recommend it to anyone who loved Harry Potter.

Book Update 3: Invasion of the Tearling and Rock and Roll book tag

Here comes my book update!!!

I’m really happy with what I have been able to read this week. Well, it’s more like just one book, but that’s good enough. The book I am reading is called “The Invasion of the Tearling” by Erka Johanson. It’s the second book in the “Queen of the Tearling” series. I’m only halfway through the book and I’m pretty happy that I picked this one up.

tearling

Unfortunately these aren’t the covers I have. But the ones I have are still gorgeous.

Honestly, I forgot most of what happened in the first book, so I came into this book a little fresher than I would have liked. Unlike most books, this book didn’t summarize what happened in the first book in the beginning of the second. I kind of had to guess at things.

This book has different perspectives, and sometimes it’s not the greatest thing. I would have just liked to stay in Kelsea’s head. I’m so confused by her character at this point, because her appearance is changing. For those who have not picked up this book, I will just say that as for second books go, I do like it so far.

The first book in this series was hard for me to get into, but this one was easier. I liked the idea of magic and how it came about after the “Crossing.” This happens around the time of 2060. Well, that’s when they cross some ocean and end up almost going back to the stone age. When I got into this series, I thought it was a medieval setting and that they had never heard of telephones because they hadn’t been invented yet. But apparently all technology had been obliterated in the crashing of the ship as they found this “new world.” I am a little confused as to how they could have found this new world if they had technology back then and had already seen the Earth. It’s slightly confusing and I really want to know more.

One thing that I find compelling to read in the second book is the world that Lily Mayhew lives in. A girl from the “pre-crossing” years, who Kelsea has visions about. Lily was born in 2058 (I think this is correct, but if not, around that time) and things are looking bad for her. Basically she lives in a sexist and homophobic society in which she has no voice and is very much repressed. The thing I find really scary is that the future in this book isn’t an impossibility. We’ve made some great strides as a nation and society, but they might be slowing down as we start voting for the next American president.

Also, the fact that they were editing books and banning written books was something I really wanted to learn more about.

That’s it for my book update so far. When I finish the book I’ll probably do a review about it to discuss ways in which the world is scarily familiar for today’s times.

Now on to a book tag!

ROCK MY TBR SONG AND BOOK TAG

1. SMELL LIKE TEEN SPIRIT (Nirvana) – A Contemporary I Want to Read

“Second Chance Summer” by Morgan Matson. I read “The Unexpected Everything” and I saw this book on the shelf the other day and really want to read it. Unfortunately I probably won’t get to it till maybe next summer.

11071466

2. SHUT UP AND DANCE (Walk to the Moon) – Most Anticipated Book You Have

I guess I’ll put this one up. I won’t be getting it till tomorrow night, but it’s one of my most anticipated books. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

hp15_q4_square_ls_pottermore

3. CENTURIES (REMIX) (Fall Out Boy) – A Twist on a Classic or Fairy Tale

That I love? Well, lets see. This is my favorite. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer review

4. YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOT (The Flaming Lips) – A Science Fiction Book or a Book Set in the Future

I’m halfway through this book and I’ll just recommend this one. Conjuror by John and Carole Barrowman.

13161937_10207661121259519_4797424883285272035_o

5. SHE LOOKS SO PERFECT (5 Seconds of Summer) – A Book with a Girl on the Cover

Throne of Glass series. I love the UK covers better.

throne_of_glass_uk

I just really love how badass she looks on this cover.

6. AFRICA (Toto) – A Book Set in a Foreign Country

I need to put this in here somewhere, so OUTLANDER!!!

a9eg4qr27pdkyw8uljpq

 

7. ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST (Queen) – A Book or Books That Will Complete a Series

This question seems vague, so I’m going to interpret it as “what book or books didn’t need to be in the series to complete it?” So I’m going with the Selection series. The last two books didn’t need to be there at all.

614e35cd8aeb0617efdd22b110a29cb7

I did love the covers. So how unfortunate was it that they were so beautiful, yet the story just lacked… beauty??

8. SOMEONE NEW (Hozier) – A Book by an Author You Haven’t Read Yet

I just got this one. I met the author yesterday and have never read his books yet. It took this guy 7 years to write this. It’s called “I Saw a Man” by Owen Sheers. He’s apparently Welsh.

9780571317745

9. HELLO (Adele) –  A Book your DNF or Weren’t in the Mood for at the Time

This one is easy. Winterspell by Claire Legrand. I just could not read the book. The story was not interesting and it was very confusing. I got this book with a gift card so I don’t feel so bad. I thought the cover was beautiful though. See, that’s why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!

 

 18475593
10. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT (Kylie Minogue)– A Book You Bought Because of the Cover

Look above and you will have your answer.

***

I only like one of the songs on this list and have no clue of the others. But anyways I hope you guys like this update. Follow me for more of these fun things!

Scotland Trip 2016

Hello there lassies! I’ve just come back from a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. I have to say it was an eye opening trip. Without the surroundings of my friends and family, I could really be me. Sure, I came to Cardiff alone and made some friends here, but I got to experience something truly alone. It was glorious.

First day:

I arrived in Edinburgh around 8:30 am. Took the Tram to the City Center. I had gotten off at the wrong stop since I looked at the map wrong. So I had to walk about forty minutes to my hotel. It wasn’t that bad of a walk. It gave me some perspective on what I wanted to check out later on in my trip. Edinburgh was more hilly than Cardiff. Not San Francisco steep, but close. The place I got off at was a bit quiet. I didn’t see that many people around. But when I got closer to the City Center, I saw more people.

The City Center was lovely to behold when I got there. There’s two parts of town. There is the Old Town, which is the architecture that was there when it was just starting as a city. And then there was the New Town. Basically a different style of architecture that came around later in the city’s history. In between

the two towns is a park. There was a Ferris wheel, two museums and even a cemetery. The New Town was where I ventured out mostly for the first two days. The hotel I stayed at was only five minutes away from the City Center. There were plenty of places to eat around it and the Tram station was RIGHT THERE! I didn’t need to walk all that way. But you live and learn.

The hotel was super close to Nando’s!  Seriously, if you’ve never been to Nando’s, you should. Or if it’s not in your country, try to imagine amazing chicken wraps and burgers. They specialise in chicken.

I couldn’t check in till two, so I got to roam around more. I hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before so I was exhausted. I got lunch and looked through part of the museum. When I finally checked into the hotel, I fell asleep for five hours. When I woke up I went to Nando’s for dinner and looked around some more.

Second Day:

I woke up late and missed my chance to go to Doune Castle, which is the location they shot Winterfell at and also Castle Leoch in Outlander. I ended up just walking down the street from my hotel and explored. I forgot my umbrella so when it started to rain halfway through my walk, I got drenched. I caught one Pokemon and then I turned off that app. I walked a good four miles and then I went to take a nap. After my nap I went to get some cheesecake and did some more window shopping. It wasn’t the most productive day of my trip, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

They say that you need to do things when you’re visiting a foreign country. But my favorite things to do when I travel is examining how the down time of the city is.

Third Day:

This was the day I was looking forward to the entire trip! After I finished reading “A Dragonfly in Amber” by Diana Gabaldon, I got the idea to visit the Highlands. So this trip was leading up to this. I bought a ticket to this tour around the Highlands. I saw the Loch Ness, Glen Coe, the famous Whiskey distillery, a double rainbow, and some Highland “coos.”

The view was breathtaking! All the amazing scenery I saw in “Outlander” was what brought me to Scotland. I definitely was impressed with all of the nature. Most people who know me think I’m more of a couch based person, but I do love the outdoors. I just really like complaining about being outdoors.

The tour guide was hilarious and if given the chance, I would love to go on another one of his tours. The company is called “Rabbies,” which is not the disease, but the name of a famous Scottish poet. If you’re ever wondering what to do in Scotland and have never seen it, I would recommend this tour.

Fourth Day:

This day I went to Edinburgh Castle. I only went for two and a half hours, then I took a nap. Yeah, I took a bunch of naps during this trip. I loved just seeing the people around the castle and the amazing architecture. It felt like the castle was on a cloud. Also, the food was amazing! I had Haggis for the first time… really good! Just don’t look up what it is.

Fifth Day:

This was my last full day in Edinburgh. I went to the palace, the World’s End pub, and the Elephant House (where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter). It was a nice day, but then I got a headache and had to lay down.

***

I know that some of that was a little short, but I do have photos. I had such a great time in Scotland and I am glad to have gotten the opportunity to do this. If I could go back, I would. Next time I go, I would like to take someone else with me.