Unboxing: Carpe Librum’s November Book Box

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Hey guys! It’s that time of the month again where Carpe Librum releases yet another one of their amazing book subscription boxes!

So if you didn’t know, Carpe Librum is a bi-monthly book subscription service that costs $35 (including local shipping)and comes with a paperback novel and a number of other little bookish goodies.

This time, as a Christmas special, Carpe Librum gave us the option of choosing between two themes (or getting both). The themes were: Happiness & Love Yourself. I got the Love Yourself box because obviously.

Anyway, today, I will be unboxing it and reviewing each item.

1. Holding Up the Universe By Jennifer Niven

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Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Goodreads

Okay I’ll be honest, I read this book and finished it in the week that it was released. But, I read the ebook so I don’t actually have the physical copy and I have been trying to decide if I should just buy the physical copy for the longest time.  So this completely solved that problem for me. I can’t wait to put in my shelf right next to my beloved All The Bright Places.

Also, if you’re wondering, the book is incredible and a review of it will be going up on Youth.SG next month so I’ll certainly link you guys up as soon as it’s out.

2. A Tote Bag

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Do you even know how much I love tote bags? I love them. And this one is so adorable. I won’t lie, I did wish it came in black because black goes with everything but I love it all the same.

And, if you look closely, you’ll see Carpe Librum’s little stamp at the bottom because they actually came up with this themselves. I feel like a proud mama not gonna lie.

3. A Mug

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Ever since Carpe Librum put in a mug in their May book box, I’ve been waiting and waiting for them to put in another mug. I mean I used the last mug religiously every single morning.

So I was so excited to open my box and to find a cute little mug. It’s adorable and my only problem is that now I’m going to have such a hard time figuring out if I should use this mug or the mug from May in the mornings.

*tea not included

4. Six quote cards

This month, we got six little quote cards with a little wooden stand to prop them up on. I really love these cards. Especially the one that says ‘Eat like you love yourself’. I think that was the best and most powerful line out of all the cards. I don’t know I guess a lot of times we need to remind ourselves that we do actually love ourselves and we should treat ourselves like we would someone we love.

I don’t know about you but I would never withhold food from someone I loved. I would never beat someone I loved over the head for a small mistake. So just remember to love yourself. It was such a great reminder.

5. Drink coasters

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I love coasters and I was so excited to see two of these bookish ones in the box this month. However I am concerned about the quality. The coasters were a little sticky like the paint hadn’t dried properly yet and it just doesn’t look very durable. They are gorgeous no doubt but I don’t think they are too functional.

So there you have it. Everything that was in Carpe Librum’s November box. I am honestly so impressed with this month’s selection. I’m so glad that they finally delved into the young adult genre because I’ve personally really been wanting to see that show up in the boxes.

I also really like how Carpe Librum experimented with making their own products this time. They usually do a lot of collaborations but this time, I was very excited to see their own little stamps on some of the items.

If you want to get your hands on the next box, you can visit Carpe Librum’s Facebook page or their Instagram page to find out more.

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Review: What Light by Jay Asher

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Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that’s moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

Goodreads

For starters, Starbucks has released their Christmas drinks already which basically means that it’s Christmas already so you totally can read this Christmas-y book without feeling weird.

Plot

This is your typical, sugar sweet, cotton candy YA contemporary novel. We follow Sierra, a girl who spends every Christmas at her parent’s Christmas tree farm. She helps out there and while she misses her friends back home, she loves coming to the farm every year and spending Christmas with her Christmas friend, Heather.

This year, Sierra meets Caleb. A boy who many people have warned her away from. But of course, when someone tells you not to do something, you will do it. So yes, they fall in love and they have to battle the odds against them.

Yup. Just your typical YA love story.

Characters

Sierra

The entire book was narrated through Sierra and I’ll be honest, I actually quite liked her. Even though she was placed in a very shallow plot, I found that she thought very maturely and I liked how forgiving and sentimental she was. I’m very sentimental so I totally got her on that level. I also loved how she saw Caleb for more then his mistake. I think everyone (except cheaters) deserve second chances so I appreciated her for doing that for Caleb.

Caleb

I liked Caleb too. The only thing I didn’t get was why he was so badly shunned. I mean what he did wasn’t that bad. And for the whole entire town to suddenly act like he was the devil reincarnated. I just found it a bit excessive.

I mean honestly, it just felt like Jay Asher could not think of something big enough so he took a smaller thing and played it up but it was done so badly that it just failed. Kind of reminded me of why I couldn’t appreciate Thirteen Reasons Why all that much too.

But otherwise, Caleb was literally boyfriend goals. He had such a good heart and he was a really well-developed character.

Overall

Overall I liked the characters in the book. I did. The only thing that ruined it was the simple plot. I mean okay, you guys know I prefer to read fiction books about big social issues so take this with a pinch of salt.

It was a very cute, simple and quick read that is perfect for Christmas. In fact, it really gave me all the Christmas feels. It’s very warm and fuzzy but there really isn’t any substance in the plot.

So if you’re looking for something easy to curl up with while sipping a peppermint mocha this holiday, I would totally recommend this book. If  you’re like me and need to read something that will make you think and change how you look at the world, stay far away from the book because it is very generic and it does follow the typical John Green formula (that I hate).

Instead, you could read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult because we need more books like this especially now that Trump holds the most important job in the world (I won’t ever stop being angry and upset about this).

*A copy of this book was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. All opinions, however, are my own*

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Guest Post: The Sioux People By Andrew Joyce

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My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. I would like to thank Camillia for allowing me to be here today to promote my latest, Yellow Hair, which documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage I write about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in my fact-based tale of fiction were real people and I use their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century.

Now that the commercial is out of the way, we can get down to what I really came here to talk about: the Sioux people. The people we know as the Sioux were originally known as the Dakota, which means ally. The name Sioux came from the Chippewa and the French. The Chippewa called them Nadonessiou, which means adder, or enemy, and then the French shortened the name to Sioux.

Every culture has an origin myth. We in the West have Adam and Eve. The Ancient Greeks had Gaia. According to the Norse people, Odin and Ymir founded the earth. If you will allow me, I’d like to tell you the creation story of the Dakota.

In the beginning, before the creation of the earth, the gods resided in the sky and humans lived in darkness. Chief among the gods was Ta՜kuwakaŋ, the Sun, who was married to Haŋyetuwi, the Moon. He had one daughter, Wohpe. And there was Old Man and Old Woman, whose daughter, Ite, was wife to Wind, to whom she gave four sons, the Four Winds.

Of the other spirits, the most important was Iŋktomi, the devious trickster. Iŋktomi conspired with Old Man and Old Woman to increase their daughter’s status by arranging an affair between the Sun and Ite. His wife’s discovery of the affair led Ta՜kuwakaŋ to give the Moon her own domain, and by separating her from himself, created time.

Old Man, Old Woman and Itewho was separated from Wind, her husband—were banished to Earth. Ite, along with her children, the Four Winds, and a fifth wind—the child of Ite but not of Wind—established space. The daughter of the Sun and the Moon, Wohpe, also fell to earth and later resided with the South Wind. The two adopted the fifth wind, who was called Wamŋiomŋi.

Alone on the newly formed Earth, some of the gods became bored. Ite prevailed upon Iŋktomi to find her people, the Buffalo Nation. In the form of a wolf, Iŋktomi went beneath the earth and discovered a village of humans. Iŋktomi told them about the wonders of the Earth and convinced one man, Tokahe, to accompany him through a cave to the surface. Tokahe did so and, upon reaching the surface, saw the green grass and blue sky for the first time. Iŋktomi and Ite introduced Tokahe to buffalo meat and showed him tipis, clothing, hunting clubs, and bows and arrows. Tokahe returned to the underworld village and appealed to six other men and their families to go with him to the Earth’s surface.

When they arrived, they discovered that Iŋktomi had deceived Tokahe. The buffalo were scarce; the weather had turned bad, and they found themselves starving. Unable to return to their home, but armed with a new knowledge about the world, they survived to become the founders of the Seven Council Fires.

The Seven Council Fires . . . or Oćeti Šakowiŋ . . . are the Mdewakanton, the Wahpeton, the Wahpekute, the Sisseton, the Yankton, the Yanktonai, and the Lakota.

After Tokahe led the six families to the surface of the earth, they wandered for many winters. Sons were born and sons died. Winters passed, more winters than could be counted. That was before Oćeti Šakowiŋ. But not until White Buffalo Calf Woman did the humans become Dakota.

Two scouts were hunting the buffalo when they came to the top of a small hill. A long way off, they observed the figure of a woman. As she approached, they saw that she was beautiful. She was young and carried a wakiŋ. One of the scouts had lustful thoughts and told the other. His friend told him that she was sacred and to banish such thoughts.

The woman came up to them and said to the one with the lustful thoughts, “If you would do what you are thinking, come forward.” The scout moved and stood before her and a white cloud covered them from sight.

When the woman stepped from the cloud, it blew away. There on the ground, at the beautiful woman’s feet, lay a pile of bones with worms crawling in and among them.

The woman told the other scout to go to his village and tell his people that she was coming, for them to build a medicine tipi large enough to hold all the chiefs of the nation. She said, “I bring a great gift to your people.”

When the people heard the scout’s story, they constructed the lodge, and put on their finest clothing, then stood about the lodge and waited.

As the woman entered the village, she sang:

‘With visible breath I am walking.

A voice I am sending as I walk.

In a sacred manner I am walking.

With visible tracks I am walking.

In a sacred manner I walk.’

She handed the wakiŋ to the head chief and he withdrew a pipe from the bundle. On one side of the pipe was carved a bison calf. “The bison represents the earth, which will house and feed you,” she said.

Thirteen eagle feathers hung from the wooden stem. White Buffalo Calf Woman told the chiefs, “The feathers represent the sky and the thirteen moons. With this pipe, you shall prosper. With this pipe, you shall speak with Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka (God). With this pipe, you shall become The People. With this pipe, you shall be bound with the Earth for She is your mother. She is sacred. With this pipe, you shall be bound to your relatives.”

Having given the pipe to the People, and having said what she had to say, she turned and walked four paces from the lodge and sat down.

When she arose, she was a red-and-brown buffalo calf. She walked on, lay down and came up as a black buffalo calf. Walking still farther, she turned into a white buffalo and stood upon a hill. She turned to bow in the four directions of the four winds and then she vanished.

Because of White Buffalo Calf Woman, the Dakota honor our mother the Earth; they honor their parents and their grandparents. They honor the birds of the sky; they honor the beasts of the earth. They know that Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka resides in all animals, in all trees and plants and rocks and stones. Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka is in all. They know that Wakaŋ Taŋ՜ka lives in each of us.

Because of White Buffalo Calf Woman, they have become Dakota.

 

This is How You Will Heal

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My love.

This is how you will heal:

In the beginning, you will feel like a knife has been jammed into your heart. You will feel that knife every time you move and that will make you want to stay in bed forever.

Eventually, you will have to get up and you will have to function. And as you start to function, the knife will disappear slowly. It will take time but one day, you will remember that knife and realise that it’s actually been gone for a while now and you just haven’t noticed.

You will blame yourself. Oh God will you blame yourself. Even if it was clearly nothing you did, babe you will blame yourself. You will find fault in everything you did. Did you love too hard? Were you too available? Did you give him the wrong signals?

Eventually, you will become more rational. As the hurt clears, you will see things clearer and you will see that nothing could have prevented the inevitable. In fact, you’re probably better off without someone who would have a problem  just because you know what you want.

You will want to stalk him on all his social media. It’s probably the worst thing you could do to yourself but sometimes we just have to let ourselves do it. So go ahead and check up on him as many times a day as you need.

Eventually, you’ll go from checking his profile 10 times a day to 8 and then to 4 and finally you’ll wonder why on earth you ever bothered to invest time in tracking his every move when he is no longer important to you.

If you have not unfollowed each other, you are going to spend ages analysing why he still likes your pictures and watches your snaps. Eventually, the jolt you get every time you see his name in your notifications will fade to a bump and eventually, you will no longer feel anything. Eventually, he will just become one of those irrelevant free likes. Trust me. It will happen.

You will want to listen to all the music that reminds you of him because it will make you feel closer to him. Forget how bad it makes you feel. You need to feel him even if it is only through music. Okay. Listen to the songs.

Eventually, you will realise that all this does is put you in a funk and you will make the decision to put on a happy song and dance around in your room with wet hair and you will be so incredibly happy that you will wonder why you ever sacrificed your happiness just to preserve a memory with him.

You will feel lonely. You will look at other couples and you will be jealous.  You will want what they have and that’s not wrong but it’s not going to help you. Doing that only leads to rebounds and that’s not fair to anyone.

One day, you will realise that you have settled unintentionally into your single hood and that’s when you will be ready to find someone else and to be happy with them.

So my darling, this is how you will heal. You will go through the pain but you will come through on the other side. Even if it doesn’t feel that way right now, know that there is an end to your tunnel. Pain is inevitable. Sometimes you just have to ride it out. Know that I am rooting for you.

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My Dream LootCrate

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Hi guys! So recently, I learned that Loot Crate is looking for people to participate in a cool project that they are doing.

If you don’t know, Lootcrate is a subscription box that targets gamers and geeks (their words. Not mine). They have a lot of very cool items in their boxes and they have their boxes monthly.

So this month, LootCrate is are basically giving people the liberty to create their own dream Lootcrate.We get to choose the theme and the items and they will be picking the best one to turn into a real life crate! How exciting!

So the theme that I decided to choose for my box is very simple one: Netflix Originals.

Basically it would be a box that contains stuff related to some of the famous Netflix originals that we have.

Gilmore Girls: In Omnia Paratus Necklace

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You guys know that any box of mine has to include anything and everything Gilmore Girls. So I’ll start with an In Omnia Paratus necklace from Shopkreativestudios on Etsy. If you didn’t know, In Omnia Paratus is what they say in the Life  & Death Brigade which is a group that Logan is a part of and that Rory was in for the duration of a weekend. It essentially translates to ‘ready for all things’.

I chose this particular necklace because I think everyone needs to remember that they are capable of anything and everything. When I see that quote, I think of Rory standing on top of that huge structure with an umbrella. I think of how if she let her rational side win, she would have missed out of this amazing opportunity and I think everyone needs to remember what they could stand to lose once in a while.

Gilmore Girls: Stars Hollow Candle

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In my opinion, no subscription box is complete without a scented candle. So I think a Stars Hollow scented candle from InTheWickOfTime is perfect. It’s a vegan and soy handmade candle and according to the description, it smells like maple leaves, apples, toasted marshmallows and fall spices. All my favourite things and all the things I associate with Stars Hollow.

Stranger Things: Mug

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Stranger Things! We have to have something to honour Netflix’s best original show to date! So we have this adorable but hopelessly accurate mug from Frenchteese. It’s just essential okay. Don’t even question it. I mean how cool would you look sipping from this in the morning?

Netflix: Button

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This was just a cheap little something to throw in because how cute would this little button from LazyMiceLazyMice look on your tote bag?

Gilmore Girls: POP Funkos

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One of the most exciting things to ever happen in the whole universe was POP Funko announcing their Gilmore Girl’s funkos that were coming at the end of the year. So in my dream LootCrate, I would put in the funkos. I would alternate between Rory and Lorelai so that some people will get Rory and some will get Lorelai. I’m excluding Sookie because I mean the girls are the stars and realistically, they are the ones that people (me) would want to receive.

So there we go! The contents of my dream LootCrate! I’ve probably gone hopelessly over the budget but apparently, sky was the limit. Honestly if this box came to life I think I would cry because how amazing a curator am I? Just kidding (not really) but yeah. It’s pretty awesome no?

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This Is My Goodbye To You

 

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Hey guys. Today I wanted to do something a little different.

If you read the letter I posted to myself, you would know that 3 weeks ago, someone I cared about greatly did a very douchebag thing to me and whatever it was that we had ended very abruptly.

I firstly want to say that I am okay. When I wrote that letter, I was barely holding it together. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t been enough for him when I had given this my everything and I cracked.

That was some time ago and it’s taken a lot but I am much better. I still have my ups and downs. I still obsess sometimes. I still think about him too much but that knife that was jammed in my heart has disappeared.

I think, especially on this blog, I can make you guys believe that I live, breathe and dream books but that’s not true. My life is so much more then the pages of a book.

Which is why I think I went about this wrong. When it happened, besides the letter, I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t tell my parents until much later (simply because I didn’t want their sympathy. Not for any other reason) and I only told a select few people what had really happened and what he had actually done.

But heartbreak is an experience. A highly charged, deeply scarring and breathtaking experience. And I should never have decided to shy away from writing about it because my words would have been powerful if I had let it engulf me.

So today I thought I would share with you guys an open letter I wrote to him in August. I never shared it with anyone, including him, but I always knew that I would publish it one day. It was just a matter of when and I think I’m finally ready to share it.

I’ve left the entire letter intact except for the final paragraph which I only just added because I wanted this to be a goodbye letter.

So yes. I’m finally accepting it. I’m finally moving on. I’m on my way to being okay.

Dear You,

I need you to know this. I need you to know that I never experienced such intense emotions as I did the day you waltzed into my life.

I need you to know that I have never felt such indescribable joy. The kind of joy where you can’t stop smiling. The kind that takes over your whole being and just makes it impossible to think of anything but the feeling of your hand on my back or of the time you shyly said I was pretty.

But then there was also the intense grief. The pain I felt when you drifted away. The tears I cried when you forgot and made me feel like a second choice. The heavy feeling when I couldn’t tell you what I really felt. Every time I tried, you turned me down.

I want you to know that when you entered my life, you changed everything. Without meaning to, I dropped my heart in your hands and suddenly, you were in charge. I want you to know that the rational side of me screamed and begged me to be careful. I want you to know how many of my friends fiercely encircled me and made me blankly promise to keep my heart safe from you.

I want you to know that despite everything, I still gave you my heart. I still told the people I loved the most about how happy you made me. I allowed myself to go crazy analysing your every text, your every move, your everything. I allowed myself to believe that we could one day actually be something.

I need you to know that I read so much into everything. That at times I convinced myself that I was worthless and that you were just putting up with me. I wanted to throw in the towel so many times. I didn’t understand why you were doing what you were doing and I drove myself crazy wondering. God I wish you knew just how crazy you drove me.

I need you to know that I never believed that we would last forever. That even though you were perfect for me in every way, I knew that one day, I would find myself sitting on my bathroom floor, crying raw tears over you.

That one day, I would be miles away from you and your name would be a bitter taste in my mouth. That perhaps one day I would look back and remember these incredible few months where we texted every day and craved to know everything we could about each other and I would smile.

Yet I still allowed you in. I still let you slowly lower my guard. I stupidly let you in even though I knew that one day, you would hurt me so badly.

I want you to know that I understood why you had to say no to me. I was hurt but I understood. Not for the first time, I put you above myself. I always put you first and the worst part is that you knew you had me wrapped around your finger. You knew and you let it happen anyway.

You should know that no matter what, every time our song comes on, I’ll think of you. I’ll think of sitting next to you in your car with you telling me to sing along and to not be afraid to sound bad. I’ll remember dancing to drum solos at traffic lights. I’ll remember falling in love with you in the quiet darkness. I’ll remember everything.

I don’t know if I’ll look back at this letter and laugh at how juvenile I was. Or if I’ll look back and ask myself why in the hell I didn’t see it coming. But there you go. There’s three months worth of feelings and memories that you have given me.

So goodbye. I wish it hadn’t ended the way it did and I wish I hadn’t misjudged your character so badly. I wish I hadn’t fallen so fast and I wish I had listened to the people that pointed out the red flags. But you know, I don’t wish you ill. I hope you have a good life. That’s all.

Love,
Cam

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Review: No Virgin by Anne Cassidy

My name is Stacey Woods and I was raped.

Stacey is the victim of a terrible sexual attack. She does not feel able to go to the police, or talk about it to anybody other than her best friend, Patrice. Patrice, outraged, when she cannot persuade her to go to the police, encourages Stacey to write everything down. This is Stacey’s story.

Goodreads

Publishing Date: 3rd November 2016

I responded to this book just so freaking predictably good grief.

Plot

This book follows a girl named Stacey who has a troubled home life and a dysfunctional relationship with her best friend. One day, after a fight with her mum and sister and after finding out that her best friend lied to her, Stacey finds herself in a cafe.

In this cafe, a boy named Harry comes up to her. It’s all really suspicious but Stacey goes along with it because this boy is giving her his attention and taking care of her and that is what she craves. And then, well, I think you can guess how her relationship with Harry ended.

I spent a majority of the book, up until the rape, just hating it. I thought it was so predictable and that anyone should have better sense then Stacey did. I mean going off with a boy and staying over with him after less then a day of knowing him is just plain stupid.

But then I really thought about it. Considering Stacey’s background, it’s unsurprising why she felt the need to find love outside and to grab on to whatever shred anyone was willing to offer her. I mean she certainly didn’t feel the love at home. Her best friend was ditching her for someone else. So she went out and this boy handed her everything on a silver platter and she took it without a word.

If I were in her shoes, I would have (and kinda have but nowhere near that extent) done the same thing.

First love is always so exciting and also so deceiving. That moment when you know you’ve captured a boy’s interest is quite possibly the most exciting and exhilarating thing. It can be so easy to forget to be smart. To remember that you actually don’t know much about this person except for the fact that he is paying attention at the moment. You mistake the attention for affection way too early and that’s when mistakes happen. You forget that it takes time and effort for people to fall in love. It is not a movie.

So no. I don’t blame her for blindly letting him sweep her off the feet because really, it could have happened to anyone.

Leading up to the rape, I think everything in me was screaming ‘THIS IS SO PREDICTABLE!!’ And that’s because it was. Everyone could see what this was leading up to and everyone could see Harry’s intentions. At that point, I was ready to give the book a three stars because I hated how simply predictable it was.

And then Stacey got raped.

Guys, I felt every word. Even though the rape was not described in gory detail (thankfully), I still felt everything that Stacey was feeling. The clamping fear. The dawning horror. The confusion. The repulsion.

I could feel her screams as if they were tearing right out of my own throat. I was in her head and I was there and I was so affected.

And after the rape, when Stacey went to Patrice and confided in her, I knew exactly why everyone needs to read this. Because everyone should know what to look out for. Because everyone should learn how to respond. Because everyone should learn what signs to look out for and how to protect yourself and your friends. Because everyone needs to know.

A few months ago, a friend of mine came to me and told me about how she was molested. At that point, I was screaming in my head. I wanted to protect her. I hated this disgusting slime that had put his hands on her with every ounce of my being. But above that, I was unprepared to deal with her. I was unprepared to listen to her tell me this and I didn’t know how to react.

After she told me, a few weeks later, she told me, through the horror stories of some other friends who reacted badly, that I had reacted appropriately. While I know I did not say everything that I should have, I’m glad that I was able to provide what she needed at that point in time. That said though, I was angry at myself for not equipping myself with the knowledge of how to respond when she first came to me.

Now that I’m reading this book, I realise that everyone needs to be prepared. You never know when someone is going to come to you needing help. You never know when something might happen. You need to be prepared always.

Side note: This friend of mine was as brave as Stacey in wanting to get help so that she could make sure it never happened to someone else again. She is one of the bravest and most selfless people I know.

Overall

Overall I think this book was just powerful. Sure the plot could have used work but I think the message came across loud and clear which was the main point. I would encourage everyone to read this. Guys and girls alike. Everyone needs to read this.

*A copy of this book was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. However, all opinions are my own*

My-Rating-4-Stars

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Review: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

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A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Goodreads

Hey guys! Happy Halloween! I hope you guys have had or are planning to have an awesome halloween. I know my social media feeds have been full of all my friends going out to wild halloween parties and crazy haunted houses.

However, if you are like me and can’t stand the social scene, I’m here to save you with a book that you can curl up with this halloween. I mean who need friends and parties when you have books right?

So last year, at about this time, I challenged myself to read my very first horror book and I did. I read Slasher Girls & Monster Boys but I realised I never reviewed it here so I’m going to give you a run down of what was good or bad for each story in this book.

Stories

The Birds of Azalea Street – Nova Ren Suma

It was good. It wasn’t scary per say but it was creepy and I know I’m going to start being worried while walking home tomorrow even though I live in the safest country ever. The writing was good. Very gripping and very poetically dark if you get my drift. It was a good introduction to the rest of the book.

My-Rating-4-Stars

In the Forest Dark and Deep – Carrie Ryan

Okay this one was amazing. It wasn’t scary to me. It was chilling but not scary. I literally couldn’t put it down. I mean thank god it finished before I had to get off the bus because let me tell you I would have stayed on that damn bus till it was over even if I missed my stop. This story left me feeling hollow. Just so hollow.

My-Rating-5-Stars

Emmeline – Cat Winters

Honestly this wasn’t scary at all. It was like a childish ghost story. The writing was good but it was pretty expected and there was nothing new.

My-Rating-2-Stars

Verse Chorus Verse – Leigh Bardugo

I was expecting g a lot from this story because I love Leigh. I ended up enjoying it but I feel like it wasn’t properly developed. I mean I see what she was trying to do and of course I understood it. But I think she could have done so much more with the story.

My-Rating-4-Stars

Hide and Seek – Megan Shepherd

This story wasn’t scary but it was very interesting and I really enjoyed it. It was very much like the Hunger Games and I liked how it ended. It was very satisfying.

My-Rating-4-Stars

The Dark, Scary Parts and All – Danielle Paige

I honestly though this one was quite weird and I didn’t really like it. I felt like the boy wasn’t explained properly and everything just seemed so random and strange.

My-Rating-2-Stars

The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh – April Genevieve Tucholke

This one started out a bit pretentious. I didn’t like how they started rattling off horror movies like the reader was daft and didn’t know what these movies were. But I think it morphed very nicely into something that was creepy and very nicely done.

My-Rating-4-Stars

Fat Girl With a Knife – Jonathan Maberry

Okay this one was just like no. A major freaking no from me. I don’t get why there was such a need to go into why Dahlia was fat and about her brute strength and anything if the story was just going to end up with zombies I mean seriously. I’d understand if the story went any other way but the way it did was just weird and I really didn’t like it.

My-Rating-1-Star

Sleepless – Jay Kristof

I liked this one. It was creepy and it preyed on a very common thing that we all do. Making friends online. I thought it was very messed up and very good.

My-Rating-4-Stars

M – Stefan Bachmann

I didn’t like the beginning. The ending was alright I suppose but it was still kind of weird and I was really hoping for a nice old twist but that didn’t happen.

My-Rating-2-Stars

The Girl Without a Face – Marie Lu

I was expecting a lot from this because obviously it’s Marie Lu and I was not disappointed. This story was creepy and scary and everything you would expect from a true horror story. In fact I currently am sleeping with my candle burner as a nightlight because I’m scared of every sound my room makes. I keep thinking I’ going to sit up and find a girl sitting in the corner of my room slashing her wrists and crawling towards me.

My-Rating-5-Stars

A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow – McCormick Templeman

I started out a bit unsure about this story. It was confusing and I was getting so bored. But I think it developed nicely and while it wasn’t scary, it was still really good.

My-Rating-3-Stars

Stitches -A.G. Howard

This one was interesting and really gory. I would not recommend it if you get queasy easily. Overall I thought the storyline for this one was quite unique and I did enjoy it.

My-Rating-4-Stars

On the I-5 – Kendare Blake

This one wasn’t scary at all. In fact I think it was poorly done. I didn’t enjoy it at all and I felt like a large part of it was just left up to the reader’s interpretation which I personally never like.

My-Rating-2-Stars

And so there you go. I’ve read my very first horror book. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, only 2 stories really ‘scarred’ me of sorts and even then it wasn’t that bad so I guess that’s good.

You’ll be interested to note however that I have not picked up a horror book since. But at least I’ve got over the block in my mind and for that I am proud of myself.

Also just a little fun fact. Last month I watched my very first full length horror film in a cinema. I watched Lights Out and I saw it with *ahem* ‘he who shalt not be named’. He forced me to watch it and I while I can’t say that I enjoyed it, I certainly didn’t hate it. I mean the only nightmare I had after that was about how badly that afternoon went so I’m good.

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The Why I’m A Reader Tag

Hey guys! My editorial calendar tells me that I haven’t done a good ole tag post in a while so I thought why not just do one now.
I’ve seen the ‘Why I’m A Reader’ tag floating around the internet for a while now and I’ve been really excited to give it a spin so here you go!

Choose 1 word that describes being a reader.

Exhilarating.

What’s the very first book you fell in love with?


The Secret Island by Enid Blyton. It was the first book that really showed me how magical reading could be. It was also the book that showed me that the stories in my head could actually be put on paper which ultimately led me to my love of writing.

Hardcover or paperback?


Why aren’t e-books included in this line up?

Okay hardbacks are gorgeous and they don’t usually get that white line crease down the spine when you lay it flat.

But paperbacks are so much lighter and easier to carry around. Plus if you get a floppy paperback then you don’t even have to worry about crease lines.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love hardback books because I hate the white crease lines.

How has reading shaped your identity?

Well I’ve always said that one of the main reasons why I read is because it helps me to see the world through the eyes of very different people who live very different lives.

And I think by doing that, you end up having the very essence of who you are changed because you start to see the world differently. You start to see strangers as more then just strangers. You start being able to empathise more and you just become a better person.

So I really believe that reading has shaped my identity in that it’s made me more tolerant and it’s made me more patient towards people because now instead of thinking: “That douchebag stole my parking lot.”, I think, “Okay. Maybe that guy is in a rush because he has an emergency. Fine. He can have the lot. I’ll move on.”

What book do you read when you need to be comforted?


The Twilight Saga. Usually I pick up Eclipse (the tent scene or when Edward carries her home) or Breaking Dawn (the honeymoon before it went funky) and it honestly just feels like coming home because I think Twilight was the first book series that I completely and utterly sold my soul to so it’s just really comforting.

Also I now have the strongest urge to pick up Twilight right now.

Who taught you to be a reader? (Or did you do it all on your own?)


My dad. My dad used to read to me growing up and sometimes he would make up these stories on my request and I think that’s really what inspired me to read growing up.

I mean the awesome thing about my parents is that they never pushed us to read. So my dad just introduced reading to me and got me books when I asked and by the time I grew too old to be read to, I found that I had already fallen in love with words and that I wanted to keep reading.

Describe your dream reading lounge

It would be in a corner in my house and it would be a two story library. My reading lounge would be on the second floor. There would be a floor to ceiling window on one side with a place where I could stretch out right next to the window. There would be the cosiest carpet on the ground.

There would be a fire place and bookshelves so that it was super cosy. There would be loads of huge pillows and blankets and bean bags because I get very restless when I read and I change positions ten million times. There would also be a really comfy recliner couch next to the window.

But most of all, it would be a corner of the house that is isolated and quiet so that I can really claim it as my space. I think no matter where I end up in life, I am always going to need a space that is just mine so that’s very important.

What book changed the way you act or see the world?

That’s quite a hard question because like I said earlier, I feel like every book you read changes a perspective of yours. Be it the smallest thing like how to slice an orange correctly to the big things like how you think about people of a particular race.

But I think the two books that have stuck with me the longest are The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah and You by Caroline Kepnes.

The Nightingale is a historical fiction book that really helped me see history in a different light.

You is a psychological thriller that follows a man that stalks a girl he likes largely through her digital footprint and orchestrates a whole thing so that she will fall in love with him. That book really made me pause and think about everything I share on social media.

Especially on Snapchat. I mean it’s my current favourite social media and I really do overshare so I do sometimes need to really think about what I’m sharing. By the way, subtle self promo here but you can add me on Snapchat if you want. My username is: @camilliadeborah or there’s always the snap code.

So there you go! The Why I’m A Reader Tag. I actually think it’s been my favourite so far.

I also wanted to thank you guys for all the love you showed me after what I posted last week. I was going through a rough time. I’m a lot better now mainly because school has started and I’ve got loads to get done so I don’t have much time to dwell on the bad things.

If I’m being completely honest, I tell everyone that I’m over it but I think it takes time and I’m going through that part right now but it will be all okay.

Also, because of school, my blogging schedule is also going to be changing. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’ve noticed how erratic it’s becoming already.

I’m going to try my hardest to keep posting at least once a week for now so bear with me. It’s a lot of changes happening really fast in my life and I need to adjust.

But thank you guys for being so lovely and patient with me as always. You truly are the best group of readers a blogger could have.

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A Letter To Myself: The End Of A Chapter

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Dear Cam,

I wanted to write you a letter because a lot is going on in your life right now and I wanted to  help you close this chapter. I want to write to you because one day, when everything is okay again, I want you to be able to look back and to see how far you’ve come.

So let’s start from the top. It’s over. Okay. It’s okay. You are okay. It’s hurting like crazy now. You want to cry.  It feels like a knife has been stabbed into your heart. It feels like that knife twists every time you move. Everything in you is shattering and I know it’s so damn hard. I know. But babe, you will be okay.

You survived 19 years and 6 months without him and you will continue to survive. You will continue to be the happy, cheerful person you have always been. You will continue to immerse yourself in life. You will continue to get every bit of life that you deserve and you will be okay.

He was not, and will never be, the sun.

Feeling wanted is a great feeling but look around you. Look at how many people circled you when it all went to hell. Look at how many people fiercely protected you even when it  was going good.

Look around and see how many people love you. Look around and see how wanted you are. My love, you don’t need the validation of a single boy to feel wanted. To feel important. I promise you that you are loved beyond measure.

You will find him one day and it will be magical. Just because it’s not right now does not mean it will never happen. You’ve got everything ahead of you. You’ve got someone so much better ahead of you. Someone who won’t do half the things he did to you. Someone who will look at you and who will actually see you. So hold on and be patient.

School is starting next week and I know you’re so excited but also so scared. Listen to me. You got all the subjects you wanted. God has blessed you with everything your heart desired this semester. I know it feels like you are going to be walking onto a battleground come Monday but I want you to hold your head up high okay?

I want you to walk into that lecture hall and I want you to sit exactly where you want to sit. If no one sits next to you for a whole semester again, who cares. It just means less distraction and a better chance for you to excel.

I know you don’t have a group for the projects yet and that is terrifying but you know what? Who cares. You will get a group and you will work with them and you will do well. You are smart. You work harder then anyone I know and you will do well. Screw what everyone else says or does. You keep doing your thing.

I have watched you grow so much over the last six months. Your internship turned you into a fearless warrior. Look at you. Look at what you have accomplished. What reason does anyone have to look down on you? What reason does anyone in the world have to believe that you are incapable?

Babe, you walked into an embalming room audaciously. Even though the first embalming sent you spiralling for over a month, you walked in there and you did it. What makes you think you can’t walk into a classroom with that same attitude? What makes you so much more afraid of a lecture hall? They are just people. Just people.

After all, school is school and life is life. And you have proven that you can excel in life just as much as you can in school.

I mean for goodness sake! Just would you look at yourself? Just look! You’ve come so far. Where’s the anxious girl who was constantly having anxiety attacks and crying herself to sleep? Where’s the girl who hid herself away all the time and used books as a way to turn invisible? Where’s the girl who was scared to talk to someone unfamiliar much less interview them? She’s gone and you’ve taken her place and I don’t know about you but I really prefer this version of you.

Two weeks ago, you made the decision to talk about something that you probably should not have talked about. Now I’m not an oracle and I can’t tell you what the consequences of telling will have or even if it was the right choice to make. But for now, stop worrying. You did what you thought was best at that time and there’s no taking it back. All you can do is trust that it will be handled the way it should be. Believe that it will be okay alright? You made a brave decision and now you will deal with the consequences because that is what you need to do. He trusted you and only you because of this. You have not betrayed him. You have saved him.

This week, your family came together in a way that you thought no longer possible. I am so happy that if only for a few days, you could experience a life that you really deserved. You never deserved what happened. What’s happening. You never did anything wrong even though I know you blame yourself. So I’m happy for you okay. Hold on to that feeling. Hold on to that scrap of normal because you will need it in the months to come.

They are there. Even though it seems like your family is slipping through your fingers. Even though you feel like you are drifting very far from them. They are there. They are here and they love you and when the storm clears, they will still be there. So just please hang on to that knowledge okay?

You have come so far and I’m so proud of you. No matter what happens from this point on, you will always have so much to be proud of. I love you very much and quite frankly that’s all that matters. Keep your chin up. You got this.

Lots of Love,
Cam