February Challenge – Peeling the layers back

I’m not trying to be dramatic. I am honest to God lost and struggling to accept who I am. This post is a little long, I know. But I am writing this for me. This is going to be a personalized challenge but feel free to jump in because honest truth, it gets old being alone sometimes.

I know I talk a lot about my car accident. In a way, it is part of my mourning. I mourn the woman I was prior to the accident because that woman is long gone. She’s not coming back, no matter how much I wish she was.

I saw one of my concussion doctors this week. And she gave me some tough love, that I didn’t realize I needed to hear.

It’s been two years. You have made what significant progress you are going to make. Sure, you can continue getting better in small ways. But the person sitting in front of me is who you are. I didn’t know the person you were before the accident and no one else going forward will either. They will only know the person in front of them. Let go of who you were and accept who you are now.

After the visit, I sat down in my car and cried one last time, mourning the person I once was but will never again be. Then I got MAD. And mad is a much better feeling than one of self pity and feeling sorry for myself.

In a previous post, I mentioned how things are different now. And as someone who particularly doesn’t enjoy change, this has been terribly difficult on me. Some of the changes are small and more of a nuance than anything. And some are big and ugly and in my face.

Like reading.. I could read close to four or five books a month. Now I am lucky if I get one in. It takes me so long to get through the book, I hate it. Not many know this but I have a learning disability. I have worked really hard to increase fluency, comprehension, and all the other wonderful skills you use while reading. And I feel like I have lost them all. I don’t feel like I am starting over but I am no longer in the advanced reading course. With time, this is one of those skills I hope to gain back. But who knows.

The running.. I was a runner. I was training for my first marathon, ran my first half, and LOVED it! I worked out easily 5 days a week and it felt great. Now, there is this emptiness there. I have zero desire to run, to work out, to do any of it. My body is the weakest it has ever been. I hate it!! And I have no idea how to get back.

I have tried pushing myself to run when I don’t want to. (See adorable picture above ) That felt good for about 5 minutes and then I was thinking “What the hell am I dong?!?!” In other words, that was a one time run deal. So I did what any reasonable person would do, I bought a new workout watch – Garmin Viveoactive 3. Amazing watch!! I love everything about it, but it still doesn’t help motivate me.

Then there’s the job. I have committed hundreds of thousands of dollars into my career. I have two masters, a bachelors degree, and I fucking loved my job – prior to the accident. After the accident, I still have all my fancy degrees but I am not in love with my job and honestly, I don’t even know if I can keep up with the demand. This is heartbreaking!! All I have ever wanted to be is a teacher. My passion was endless, I was awesome, gifted, yada, yada. You get the point. This felt like my calling. Until it wasn’t. Until that stupid accident..

So, 2 years have past, I have lost my father-in-law, step-mom, and my niece, and I find myself asking – What the fuck am I doing?

I am completely lost and I have no idea who I am. I feel like a stranger in my own body. What I know is that I am not the same- post and pre accident don’t line up. I don’t think the same. I don’t feel the same. I can’t process at my old speed. I don’t multi-task or tune out distractions nearly as well. Indoor florescent lights will always feel too bright. I feel like my personality has switched from a type A to some other one that’s out there. I can’t do as much as I used to. I am drinking way more than I ever have. I am eating like shit. I am self medicating. None of this is pretty, it is all really scary, and it doesn’t end! This is my reality and I don’t know how to accept it.

Deep breath, I think it is safe to say I am still mad. Which brings me to my challenge.

This challenge is for 30 days and it is all about inner peace, positivity, getting healthy, and feeling in control. Over the span of 30 days, I (we?) must:


Quit the bad habits! Walk away from the drinking, self medicating, and eat at least 2 meals a day. You are not going anywhere with a foggy mind and a sluggish body.

 

Find your Smile! Find something to smile about and identify one positive thing that happened each day. Write it down and read it aloud every night. It might be difficult in the beginning and some days might be harder than others, but do it! Do it because you deserve it!

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Find some Mental Clarity
! Try at least 5 minutes every night but 20 minutes would be great. I am going to try meditation and reading. My goal is to meditate every morning and to read 1 chapter (give or take) every night.

 

Count your Steps! True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body. Let’s face it, the two are intertwined. You can walk 20 minutes, a mile every day. Or maybe try to walk as many, if not more steps as you did the day before. Just get up and move a little.

 

Know your Self Worth! I am giving myself one month to figure this shit out. I am going to be looking into Skills/personality tests, making pros/cons list for staying in my job or going, and so on. I am going to figure out either what a former teacher can do after teaching or how to get back to being happy as a teacher.

 

This may not look like it, but there is a lot here and the next 30 days will be difficult. But I am up for the challenge, you all know I need a change. Comment below if you want to join me on this journey or with any thoughts. And Until Next Time, Happy Reading 🙂

 

Truly it’s a love, hate, looking forward to kind of BOOK thing.. Or is it just me? (Feb)

 

I felt like January was a successful month and I don’t have much to complain about, book wise at least. I’m slowly getting back into my blog and feel fortunate I get to talk with wonderful authors about all the amazing work they are doing. Keep an eye out for my February Challenge. It’s more of a personal challenge to myself, a way to help me get adjust and figure out the new me. I’m still working out the details but it’s a starting point.

As far as the books I read, well, that is a slowly unfolding. Here is a recap of the books I LOVE, HATE, and the ones I am looking forward to reading next month:


HATED It:
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Dying Bites (The Bloodhound Files, #1) – This book has come highly recommended but I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe it’s the timing or maybe the book is just as horrible as I think.. who knows. I gave the book 1 star.

 


LOVED It:

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Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom, #1) – This book was actually a pleasant surprise 🙂 For me, it was a page turner – didn’t want to put down and stayed up way too late – kind of book. Don’t you love a good series that you just don’t want to put down!?!? I gave the book 4.5 stars

 


 

New and Upcoming Authors:

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Author Spotlight – Kelly D. Smith: Rock Stars are Trouble: Not much is out about this book and since I haven’t read it yet, I can’t add much to the internal debate of should you read this book or pass. The book, Rock Stars are Trouble, was first published in January 2016 and has five reviews. Let’s see if we can beef this up 🙂


Looking forward to Reading Next:

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I know I’ll read more than one book. I’m just not so sure what it will be yet. Any suggestions 🙂


What are you reading this month? Read anything last month that’s worthy of adding to my To-Read list? Comment below, I would love to hear from you! Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom, #1) – Book Review

This is one of a couple books a store clerk talked me into buying. Unlike the others, this one was actually a pleasant surprise 🙂 For me, this book was a page turner – didn’t want to put down and stayed up way too late kind of book. I love a good series that you don’t want to put down.


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Author: Devon Monk
Published: November 4, 2008
Pages: 355

Stars: 4.5 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
Amazon

 

Synopsis:
Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune – and the strings that come with it. All magic use has costs — hers include migraines and memory loss. She finds a boy dying from a magic Offload with her father’s signature, then her father is murdered. Allie’s search for the truth calls on her country friend and the handsome man originally assigned as her bodyguard. Someone is forging magic signatures — and hers is on her dead father.

Review:
The book opens with a very much down on her luck Allie and the death of a young boy. For Allie, being twenty-five, broke, and in debt does not make for a comfortable life. Add a crazy and powerful – very powerful – father into the mix, and Alli’s life isn’t great.

All Ailli’s ever known and associated her father with is hate. I can’t imagine having such strong and negative feelings for someone whose supposed to love and care for you. That makes me so sad and I mourn the missed relationship that could have been.

Allie’s character is strong and by far imperfect. In fact, she makes a LOT of really stupid decisions based on some impractical logic of hers. But she has a big, loving heart… that can also get her into trouble. Allie is a hound with an impressive ability to trace a spell back to the person who sent it. The downside is every time she or anyone uses magic, it comes at a cost. For every spell cast, there is an Offload of equal measure. Small magics might result in a migraine; large-scale magics might mean death for the caster. As you can imagine, Allie uses a lot of magic in this book and is constantly battling the Offload.

Allie’s character is complicated and honestly has a continual string of bad luck. She is accused of murder, discovers magic isn’t black and white but can do many improbable things, gets betrayed (A LOT) and is constantly fighting for her life. Her life is tough, she has been through a significant amount of trauma, and at times she can come off a little jaded. To say the decisions she makes doesn’t always makes sense, is an understatement but one that makes sense considering the amount of trauma she has been through.

Okay, I will be the first to say I hate the instant attraction kind of story plots. But there is something about the writing and the way the author describes the passionate kiss between Allie and Zayvion, that makes me want more. To be honest, I think their connection is part of why I like this book so much. Zayvion’s character is strong, sexy, and so very complicated. It’s almost like Allie and Zayvion are both broken and work so well together because of it.

The book is written in third person, passed tense, which for some reason makes this book stand out from the rest of the books I’ve recently been reading. I will say the author added twists within the plot I didn’t see coming and that’s refreshing. One of the things that stands out from the plot is Magic and the mystery behind it all. I find it all very fascinating and my curiosity is peaked.

This book really caught me by surprise. I am interested in this series and wondering where the author will take it. I loved the connection between Allie and Zayvion. I still don’t think we’ve gotten the full picture of who Zayvion is, but I am looking forward to finding it out. This might become one of my new favorite series. Time will tell 🙂

Sick with the flu, followed by death in the family

I have been home sick for the past week with the flu.. ugh, it was not fun! Sorry to all the emails I haven’t gotten to and the pages in my book I haven’t read. You know you don’t feel good when the simple act of reading is too much.

And then Monday came with dreadful news – My step-niece passed away. I have known her since she was 8. She was 18 and her college roommate found her. I feel frozen, not able to even process all of this yet. I still can’t believe she is gone…

 

Author Spotlight – Kelly D. Smith: Rock Stars are Trouble

Not much is out about this book and since I haven’t read it yet, I can’t add much to the internal debate of should you read this book or pass.. But I was able to talk to the author a little bit and she was able to answer some questions. 


Author Interview

When did you first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
When I was about 10 or 11

Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
I’m a huge music fan and I really wanted to write a series about the boys in a band. I wanted to take the reader away to a brand new world; one that isn’t always seen in the romance genre (though don’t get me wrong, I know rock star romances are popular!)

Is this book going to be part of a series? If so, can you tell us more about the series
This is actually the first book in a series. I’ve got four other books in the series and each one follows one of the band members. I’m working on book five, which will focus on Kenda and Greyson again!

What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
More than anything, I just hope readers remember enjoying the book!

Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published?
It’s scary, but take the risk no matter how scary it is! Trying and failing will be the best way to learn!

Do you have any strange antics you do while you write?
Nope, though I normally end out being a pillow to my cat while I try to get my work done!


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Published: January 14, 2016
Pages: 122

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Where to Buy:
Amazon
Siren Bookstrand

Synopsis:
Kenda Lexan has one shot at this interview with Greyson Brant and she’s gotta make it perfect–otherwise she’ll lose her job. Greyson’s up and coming, and got a major reputation for flirting with anyone who interviews him–too bad for him Kenda already knows that rock stars are trouble. When she has to interview him again she can’t help but realize he’s not that bad of a person. He’s actually nice to his fans, and for some reason he’s nice to her, despite the fact she’s made it clear she’s not interested. So she agrees to hang out–as friends. She remembers what musicians are like, and a run in with her ex just solidifies that she doesn’t need anything to do with the type. But when her sister ends up in the hospital and he shows up to help her out she can’t help but think she might be wrong. Are all rock stars trouble? More importantly is Greyson Brant?

Excerpt:
“Hey,” Kenda forced a smile over her lips as she greeted him. He wore a pair of green camo pants and a muscle shirt. Kenda swallowed dryly as his muscles flexed, holding on to something. She glanced down. The black dog sat there. “Hi, Brut.”

“I hope you really meant he could come.” Greyson grinned. His black hair was tied back today, and again his green eyes were hidden behind glasses. He clearly hadn’t shaved for a few days, either. A little five o’clock shadow looked good on him.

“I did.” Kenda forced herself to speak as she continued to look him up and down. “Come on in.” She stepped out of the doorway and motioned for them to come. “Sorry it’s kinda a mess. I lost track of time.” She didn’t see the point in lying, but she wasn’t going to add the part about her boss taking credit she thought she deserved. I could just be overreacting.

“It’s not a mess. Trust me, my place looks much worse.” Greyson grinned. “Before I take him off his leash, do you mind if he goes on the couch? I know some people are super against it.”

“Oh, I don’t fucking care,” Kenda scoffed.

Greyson grinned as he let the dog off the leash. The dog didn’t seem to have any interest in looking around. All he cared about was following Greyson around. Greyson, on the other hand, he seemed very interested in looking around.

“Were you getting the interview ready to go?” he asked, glancing at her computer.

“Sorta.”

Kenda closed the distance between him and her desk before he could get a good look at what she’d just been reading. “Been doing some research, too. You didn’t tell me that fan who needed you was a little girl.” She turned to face him again.

“Maybe I liked the idea that you might be jealous.”

Kenda felt butterflies pool in her stomach. Oh this was not good.

“You thought I was jealous?” she asked as she raised an eyebrow.

“A man can hope, can’t he?”

“So you were hoping I was jealous?”

Greyson shrugged. “Let’s just say it’s been nice to meet a girl who doesn’t seem to want to jump me.”

“But you still wanted me to be jealous?” Kenda grinned, stepping towards him, interested in his answer.

“Doesn’t everyone want something they can’t have?” His eyes locked on her. A warm shiver ran down her spine and settled in the pit of her stomach. His green eyes sparkled behind his glasses.


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Kelly D. Smith is a 21 year old romance writer from Canada. After being homeschooled all her life she got her GED and has been pursuing her passion- writing- with the hopes of turning it into a full time career.

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Hope you are able to check out this Author and her book. Comment below if you’ve read the book or your thoughts on it. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂