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Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings

Book Review: A Little Something Different

A Little Something Different Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  

 But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship. 

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….

 A Little Something Different is a cute and easy read, which is one of the things I like about it. It’s a book that doesn’t take too long to read because the writing flows smoothly and the story is very simply told by those surrounding the two main characters.

I also like that the author kept everything so short and simple with all of the characters. While I normally enjoy reading stories with a lot of character development, I feel like that wasn’t needed with this story since everyone else was talking about these characters. Which reminds me, I really like that the author told this story from so many different perspectives. While at times it could be a little annoying because the points of view changed on every other page, I like that Sandy Hall had friends of the two main characters telling their story along with people who saw them and thought they would be cute together. It added something different to the story, let the reader know what people thought of these two characters instead of hearing the characters talk about themselves and their troubles. I especially thought it was cute to have a squirrel’s point of view in the story because you never see that type of perspective in books. And I found the perspective of the bench to be amusing because having a bench talk about the perfect butt just made me giggle.

I especially like Lea and Gabe, who I felt like I could relate to. Both characters are pretty shy and awkward, which is something I completely understand since I’m the same way. I have a hard time interacting with people socially, except for the people I’m closest to, like my friends and family. But I also don’t like people that much, which makes it hard for me to want to socialize with anyone except for the people I care about. They are also like me because I’m also very geeky. They both like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a television show I’ve seen a couple episodes of here and there but haven’t really watched all the way through and both of them are into writing, something else I obviously enjoy. I really liked that Hall had these two awkward college students as the main characters because it was something I could really relate to, and it made me want to find out how their love story would unfold. I also found them as a couple to be really endearing and it wasn’t hard to root for them to end up together.

One of the things I like the most about A Little Something Different is hearing about Gabe’s physical handicap. Not a lot of teenagers have a physical disability like Gabe, and it’s nice to see her acknowledge how this impairment affects his life. I also appreciate that we get to see him struggle with this disability throughout the book, and then see his character once he’s able to do something about it. It shows that the story does have a little character development even though it’s not much, and promotes a positive message about people with physical disabilities.

A Little Something Different is a good read because it’s such a happy book. With the amount of horrible things that happen in the world on a daily basis, it was nice to read this book, and get away from that for a little bit. I also like this book because of the romance aspect of the story. I like romance literature, and reading about this couple was exactly what I needed.

But while this story is cute, there are some aspects of the story I didn’t like too. For one, I didn’t like that the whole focal point of this book was about their romance. Every conversation the characters in the story have is about both of them, and how cute they’d be together. But I felt like the author could’ve had these characters focus on their own lives while also talking about these two characters. It was almost like all of the characters didn’t have lives of their own, like Gabe and Lea were the only thing they had going for them. It was like these people were obsessed with having these two get together, that they couldn’t talk about anything else because of it.

I also hate how hard Hall was using these secondary characters to push Gabe and Lea together instead of letting them get together if it was meant to be. While I think these two characters are cute, I find it annoying how hard the author was pushing for their relationship instead of letting things happen naturally on their own.

I was also frustrated with Lea and Gabe’s characters. I get that both of them are awkward and shy, but I feel like the author used this as too much of an excuse during the course of the story. She had them literally at the same places all the time, yet they had very little physical conversations with each other. They would just awkwardly acknowledge each other with a wave or smile each time they saw each other and that was it. I found this to be frustrating because it’s not completely realistic. I get having a crush on someone and having a difficult time getting the courage to talk to the person you like. But after a certain point, you have to make the decision to make a move or the person is going to believe you don’t like them and move on, which is actually what almost happened. I get that it’s not easy, but I felt like the author told the reader both these characters were shy too much. To the point where it made you as the reader wonder if Lea and Gabe really actually liked each other because there were times were it was hard to tell.

What I also don’t like about A Little Something Different is the way Hillary and Victor’s characters are portrayed in the story. These two characters are the only ones who don’t necessarily want Lea and Gabe together, and everyone else in the story gives them a hard time about it. While these two characters weren’t my favorite (especially Hillary, who I found to be quite annoying), I felt like their treatment was a little unfair. Especially Victor because he really didn’t want anything to do with the two of them, but ended up near them almost every time something happened. I felt sorry for him more than anything else, especially since Gabe was constantly kicking his seat during class.

I overall enjoyed reading A Little Something Different because the story was so cute and happy and it was very easy to read. It was exactly what I needed, but unfortunately had some imperfections that if fixed would’ve made this story even more enjoyable to me. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a book to read to cheer them up, a book with many different character perspectives, and is a romantic at heart like me.

 

 

 

Book Review: The Shotgun Arcana (Golgotha #2)

The Shotgun Arcana Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

R.S. Belcher’s debut novel,The Six-Gun Tarot, was enthusiastically greeted by critics and readers, who praised its wildly inventive mixture of dark fantasy, steampunk, and the Wild West. Now Belcher returns to Golgotha, Nevada, a bustling frontier town that hides more than its fair share of unnatural secrets.

1870. A haven for the blessed and the damned, including a fallen angel, a mad scientist, a pirate queen, and a deputy who is kin to coyotes, Golgotha has come through many nightmarish trials, but now an army of thirty-two outlaws, lunatics, serial killers, and cannibals are converging on the town, drawn by a grisly relic that dates back to the Donner Party…and the dawn of humanity.

Sheriff Jon Highfather and his deputies already have their hands full dealing with train robbers, a mysterious series of brutal murders, and the usual outbreaks of weirdness.  But with thirty-two of the most vicious killers on Earth riding into Golgotha in just a few day’s time, the town and its people will be tested as never before—and some of them will never be the same.

The Shotgun Arcana is even more spectacularly ambitious and imaginative than The Six-Gun Tarot, and confirms R. S. Belcher’s status as a rising star.

 As someone whose reading R.S. Belcher for the first time, this book was an amazing read. Part of the reason I enjoyed it so much is because this book has an abundance of genres. Its part western, steampunk, fantasy, sci-fi, and history all in one. But it’s done in a way where you’d enjoy the story, even if one of the genres mentioned doesn’t always suit your fancy. These genres also aren’t too overwhelming in the story to where one overtakes all the others. They all flow together, make sense with how they are incorporated into the storyline.

Another thing I enjoyed about reading The Shotgun Arcana is you don’t have to read the books in this series in order and the shift in character perspectives. I’ve never read The Six-Gun Tarot, which is supposed to be the first book in this series. But I can still follow along to the storyline because you don’t need to read the first book in this series to understand the characters and events that happen. This is something I appreciate because with some book series, you have to read the books in order to understand what’s going on. But with this series, you can read the books separately and still get a good grasp on what’s happening to the characters. I also like that Belcher had each chapter covered by a different characters point of view. There are quite a lot of characters in this story, each with their own unique lives. So it was nice seeing all of these characters point of view, and seeing how their storyline connects with the overall picture.

What I also enjoyed about this book is seeing some powerful female figures in the story. All of the women in this story grew up during a time when women were still considered property, and didn’t have access to their own funds. But all of the women in this story were pretty level headed and strong, despite the way some of their male counterparts treated them. My favorite female characters in this book were Maude Stapleton and Kate Warne. I like them both because they were the fiercest characters in the book, but in different ways.  Most of Maude’s abilities involve elements of the supernatural while Kate Warne is a part of the law. But both characters used their strengths to their advantage, overcoming obstacles that made them the strong women in this book I enjoyed reading about.

I also appreciate that the story didn’t shy away from tough subject matters, like including racism through Mutt’s character. You see this in The Shotgun Arcana through the amount of disrespect some of the townspeople in Golgotha treat him despite that he’s one of the sheriffs in the town. Belcher also brings up interracial relationships with Mutt through his interest in Maude. Every time the two of them are seen talking together, people are always watching them, wanting to make comments about the two of them being together. There’s even a part in the story where Mutt and Maude go on a date and some of the townspeople see Mutt touch Maude so they want to hang him in a tree. What I appreciate about all this is that Mutt doesn’t let any of it get him down. While it’s a terrible thing for anyone to have to deal with, Mutt uses it to make himself a stronger and even better person. So while it’s a horrible thing to see in this book, I’m glad they include it because of the way Mutt handles it.

I also appreciate that this book has a lot of mythological things in it too, such as human characters who are actually angels. You see this through the characters of Biqa and Raziel, both angels in exile for different reasons. Both play a central role in the overall plot of The Shotgun Arcana, and I enjoy seeing them in this book because I find it to be an interesting element to include in the story.

The one thing I didn’t enjoy when reading this book is that I sometimes found the storyline to be a little overwhelming. Part of it was due to the back and forth between different characters. But I also feel like there’s so much going on in this book that it can be overwhelming for some to follow. The chapters that made me feel this way in particular are the ones that give background information about some of the villains who join forces with Raziel to try and take over Golgotha. While I found this information to be enlightening/useful, I also felt like these chapters added nothing to the story. All this information was useful, but I just didn’t see the point of adding these chapters when Belcher could’ve very easily mentioned this information when the characters actually came into play in the story. I felt like that would’ve definitely been a better way to handle them because I honestly forgot the information I read about them once these characters were finally introduced into the story.

But otherwise, I really enjoyed reading The Shotgun Arcana. It’s quite an interesting page turner that has a little bit of everything for those who don’t like reading books with one particular genre. But it also has enough action to get you wanting to see what happens next. I highly recommend this book, and hope to read the rest of the books in the series in the future.

 

If We Were Having Coffee: A Week of Writing Fiction

If We Were Having Coffee 01

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve been having a wonderful week and an even better weekend. I’m sorry I didn’t do a coffee post last weekend. I did the Great Strides walk with my best friend last weekend, but I also just didn’t have too much to talk about. But that’s okay, because I have more things this week for you to make up for it.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the Great Strides walk I went on last Saturday was quite a bit of fun. It’s the second time I’ve done this walk with my best friend, and I’m glad I could make it. I was a little worried at first because the weather was calling for rain, but luckily it didn’t rain at all when we were there so we were good. I really enjoyed doing it though because it really got me walking, which is something I don’t do as often as I need to. But I managed to do okay, considering it was a 3 mile trek and I haven’t walked like this since I’ve been away from work. I also managed to talk to one of Erin’s dear friends while doing this walk because Erin and her husband were busy managing their son. He walked with me the whole time and we just talked about all sorts of stuff. It was just nice having the company, having someone there to keep you going until you completed the 3 miles.

Last weekend was also Mother’s Day too so I spent my Friday cleaning the house for my Mom while she was away at work. I couldn’t think of anything in particular to get her (which quite frankly, wouldn’t have been enough anyway, because my Mom has done so much for me and my sister), but I figured having her come home to an already clean house would be a nice gesture. It meant she would have one less thing to do, and it would allow her to just spend the weekend relaxing if she wanted to. I also bought her dinner Saturday night too at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and we rented two movies: Patriot’s Day and Star Wars: Rogue One. Originally we were going to eat dinner then go see a movie, but none of the movies in the theatres that day were anything either of us wanted to see. So we just figured renting some movies for at home would be better. And it was, because both the films we rented were great.

Star Wars Rogue One Darth Vader

What I enjoyed about Patriot’s Day was how true it stuck to the real events that transpired with regards to the Boston Marathon bombing. I also liked it because it felt real personal. Besides having family members who lived in Boston around the time it happened, I felt like it was just a great film showcasing the real life of those who the bombing really affected. Especially near the end when they showed interview clips from some of the survivors and the police officers who handled the case. What I enjoyed about Star Wars: Rogue One was the characters, and how the storyline connected with the rest of the Star Wars series. Though the ending caught me completely off guard and mad me sad, I felt like it was a good side film that could hint at what could come in the rest of the series.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve gotten a lot of writing done this week. I made the decision to write a post about journaling, because it’s something I’ve been doing since middle school. It’s also something I think every writer should do so I wanted to talk about how keeping a journal has benefited my life. I also have this story I’ve been working on since middle school too that I hope to one day get published into a book so I was working on that one day during the week. I’m planning on working on it some more once I get the chance because it’s a project I seriously want to complete. I’ve also completed another Flash Fiction Challenge, which I also think has some serious potential of becoming a novel. It’s a story I started working on that I believe is going to take a while to complete, but once it’s done could be a really good piece. I don’t know yet necessarily if that’s something I’m really going to do with it, but I’m just going to wait and see how far I can get with it at least before I make that call. I’m also going to be doing another guest writer post for my friend Lesley. So look out for that in the next couple weeks whenever it comes out.

Gardenscapes App Game

I’ve also been playing a couple of App games on my phone. In particular, I’ve been playing a game called Gardenscapes, which is a matching level game that allows you to build the outside garden of your dreams. It’s a game I stumbled upon by accident while on Facebook, and I haven’t been able to stop playing it since. Part of it is because it’s such a cute game, and I like the look and feel of it when I play. There’s also just enough of a challenge that makes me come back to it again and again, even when I run out of lives. I don’t know how else to explain it just yet, but I’m considering doing a review of it in the near future. I know I’ve definitely been playing it enough that I could. Plus, I haven’t done any video game reviews in a really long time.  I don’t know, I guess I’ll just wait and see.

I also recently started and finished this book called The Shotgun Arcana this week. It’s a book that’s equal parts western, fantasy, and historical. But it was a really enjoyable book, so be sure to see my book review for it this upcoming week.

Next weekend, you probably won’t be seeing one of these posts because my sister is coming home this Memorial Day weekend, and her boyfriend will be coming too. So we’ll be spending some time together and I’ll get to meet her boyfriend for the first time. But either way, that’s really all I have to say for now. How’ve you all been doing? Did you all have a wonderful week too?

Our Only Hope (Flash Fiction Challenge: The Subgenre Smash-and-Grab)

Flash Fiction Challenge Picture Sword
Via https://gradypbrown.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/magic-swords/

So for this week’s Flash Fiction Challenge, Chuck Wendig gave a list of 20 subgenres to choose from. Out of the list, you are to choose two of these subgenres and write a short story that mashes up the two subgenres you chose.

So I used a random number generator to pick which two subgenres I’d write about. The number generator gave me sword & sorcery and biopunk. So for this short story, I’ve begun to weave a tale about a young thirteen year-old girl named Liza Fitzgerald born into a dystopian world who goes on a quest to find the missing sword Alexandra, which is supposed to be a sword that can be used to both heal and destroy the world of Terra.

Oh, and just to let you know, this is only the beginning of the story. I haven’t come anywhere close to finishing this piece because I believe what I’ve written has the potential to become a novel I write in the near future.

Liza’s Journal Entry #1: Going on an Adventure

It’s the year 2032, and our country is at the brink of collapse. Most if not all of us are poor, due to lack of health care, and having to constantly work to put what little food is left on the table. The government is controlled by the rich and wealthy, who use all their power and wealth to help themselves, resulting in the eventual collapse of the middle class.

 Our country Terra is constantly at war. Our evil tyrant in charge Jafar sends out military troops over to other countries to kidnap and steal their people to put them to work as indentured slaves.

Every day, Terra’s populace increases, but there’s still not a lot of food and places for these people to go, due to the wealth’s need to own everything, yet not feed the population they have under control. So these people who’ve been taken away from their homelands live on the streets, which are nowhere near safe for anyone to live.

 Living on the streets is dangerous because people are becoming desperate, stealing from each other in the hopes of being able to make a little extra money. Some have even gone so far as to kill, hoping they can make some money by selling the body parts of their victims.

 Even the news and media, who used to be on our side, have completely turned against us. Every day, the media broadcasts live video of our inner city, boasting about how far Terra has come in advancements of technology. Trying to tell us how great our leaders are, that we should be thankful for living in Terra. And because our media has been paid for by our wealthy leaders, they then make bold promises that they’ll lead us out of war, and that those of us who’ve remained loyal to them will be paid for it when the time has come.

 We’ve come such a long way in technology, yet we can’t even feed our own people and make sure everyone is safe? Yes, that definitely makes perfect sense.

 But despite these terrible conditions, we have one last hope that everything will be alright. In the news many years ago before they’d been paid off, there was talk about this magical sword called Alexandra that would bring this horrible tyranny to an end. Alexandra was created by one of our mad scientists who goes by the name Rafiki in a genetic lab. Word has it that this sword has both the power to heal and destroy, making it an item our tyrant leader really wants to get his greedy hands on.

 Luckily for us though, nobody knows where Rafiki has put it. Because on the day the news mentioned Alexandra to the world, Rafiki and the sword vanished, and haven’t been seen ever since. But ever since that day, Jafar has vainly sent his men in search of this sword only for them to return empty handed.

 What Jafar doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one looking for Alexandra. When word got around that there might be a way to end this tyranny, the leaders of our city got together to discuss the best way to search for this sword without Jafar knowing about it. Upon reflection, our leaders made the decision to send some of Terra’s children to go in search of the sword upon their thirteenth birthday so that Jafar wouldn’t be suspicious of our city’s inhabitants. But like Jafar, the children who’ve gone before me have returned empty handed.

 Hello, my name is Liza Fitzgerald, one of the city’s children. Today, I’ve turned thirteen years-old, and have volunteered myself to go on this journey to find the missing sword. I know the trip will be difficult, that there’s a risk of me not coming back, but I’m not at all afraid.

 Ever since I heard about Alexandra and the trip children here take in search of it, I knew this was my destiny. I know I might never find it, since obviously none of the other kids here have, but I have faith that everything will be okay. For I am Liza Fitzgerald, and I’m not at all afraid.

With a loud thud, I closed my journal and stowed it away in my black backpack, which is within arm’s reach of the bottom bunk of the bed I slept on.

It’s currently early morning here, with many more hours left to go before I leave this crammed city to go in search of the sword.

Wow, I can’t believe it, I think to myself. I’m finally thirteen. I’ll finally get the chance to leave this horrible place for a little bit. Get to explore, maybe even see what some of the other cities look like. I know anything is better than my life here anyway, living here so close together it’s almost hard to breathe.

 I spend the next couple hours between staring at the one window that looks to the outside world, and looking at the bunk bed ceiling above my head. I try to ignore the smell of decay and death surrounding me as most of my roommates are either sick or haven’t taken baths in weeks. Not too surprising though, considering our water rarely works and Jafar and his wealthy buffoons don’t care about whether we have good hygiene. As long as we can work all day, he could care less if we are physically or mentally stable.

Looking outside the window, all I can see is a downpour of rain washing along the foggy streets. Also not very surprising because it rains here in Terra every day ever since Jafar took over. We rarely get any ray of sunshine. When we do, it’s always when we least expect it or it comes right before another downpour of rain and storms takes over. But as I take this opportunity to look outside, the rain slowly clears away to reveal a ray of sunshine peaking its head around the corner.

As the sun slowly lifts above the clouds, I get myself changed and ready for this journey. I pack what few belongings I own, including the staff that was given to me by my mother to channel my magical abilities.

You see, some of the inhabitants here in Terra have magical abilities, powers they can use to their advantage whenever it suits them. I’m one of those people, born by two parents who use their powers as their second set of armor before going out into the world. Being magic wielders, we are both respected and feared by those around us. But we are also the most protected because we are much harder to kill or injure, even when facing the most dangerous of foes, making us perfect targets for Jafar’s evil purposes.

Which is another good reason for me to leave. I don’t want to be a pawn for whatever else he might have in store for Terra. I’d rather die out there than continue to stay here and be used in whatever way Jafar sees fit. So I better leave now while I have the chance. Before it’s too late.

With my backpack full to the brim and staff in tow, I leave the cramped bedroom, trying the best I can not to wake up my comrades. I tiptoe from the hallway into the kitchen, which is in total darkness.

Then all of a sudden, the blinding kitchen light is turned on, and I hear a loud chorus of “surprise!” shouted by all of my loved ones.

Great. It looks like they’ve thrown me a surprise party.

 

 

 

The Importance of Journal Writing: Why You Should Write in a Journal

Journal Writing1

I remember starting to write in a journal when I was in middle school. It was the summer after 7th grade, after my family moved before I started going to another school. I don’t remember why I started journaling. What I do know is that I haven’t stopped since, even during those moments when I wasn’t writing in my journal very often.

Now, I’m on my ninth journal and still going strong. As a writer, I think it’s important you keep a journal. You don’t necessarily have to write in it every day (I know I don’t), but I believe it’ll help you in the long run.

What I love about keeping a journal is being able to write my own personal thoughts down on paper. Nowadays with advancements in technology, digital platforms are becoming an increasingly more popular mode of communication. Emails, texts, social media—everything is digital. Even writers use digital forms to store their writing somewhere safe. But with digitalizing everything comes risks to your writing being stolen or worse, accidentally deleted. So it’s nice to keep a journal because I can physically write my thoughts down on paper without having to worry about someone else reading them. It’s also nice going through the motion of physically writing things down because it allows you to stay in practice of handwriting.

I love keeping a journal too because I can write without judgment. I don’t have to clean up my handwriting, make it neat and pretty or worry about someone else reading it. My journal is for me to express my thoughts only so I can use it however I want and not have to worry about any writing mistakes I may make. It’s also a nice way for you as a writer to express all of your thoughts, allowing you the chance to get whatever thoughts are buzzing around in your head out.

Notebook Creative Lifestyle Journal Pen Write

Whenever I was in college, one of the classes I took was called Creative Nonfiction. In that class, we were assigned the task of writing about personal experiences in our lives. And one of the things we talked about was using writing to heal. About how by writing about some of your most personal experiences, you are acknowledging your past and can use it as a means to heal from the trauma and move on. I think writing in your journal works in the same way too. For one, it’s a very personal mode of writing where you document all of the experiences you’ve gone through in your life. But you document them from your own experience, sharing your own thoughts about what happened and how it’s shaped you as a person. I like writing in my journal in this way because I’m able to bring fresh thoughts out that I might not be ready to share on my blog yet. I can write about the most personal things, and not have to worry about someone else seeing them when I’m not ready.

I also like journal writing because I fully believe it helps you improve as a writer. It allows you to get any thoughts out that might be stopping you from writing. But I also think it can improve the way you write by allowing you to write in whatever way you want. When writing in a journal, the only person you’re writing for is yourself. You don’t have to worry about someone else reading your personal thoughts, so you can write about whatever you want, which can improve your writing because you don’t have to worry about writing for a perspective audience. You can write about whatever’s on your mind with no care in the world.

I also like to write in my journal because I feel like I’m accomplishing something. I’m already on my ninth journal, which feels like quite an accomplishment to me. And seeing all those blank pages I have left makes me want to continue writing in my journal to see how long it takes me to fill them. I also like it because I like how writing in a journal feels. It feels like I’m writing in my own personal space where nobody can bother me. Each journal feels like a different chapter in my life, like I’m telling my story in different parts. It’s like an adventure story where I’m just waiting to fill in the next journey I myself as the character am about to go on. I don’t know where it’s taking me; I just know I’m going somewhere. And with each journal I complete, I learn something new about the world around me and myself.

Raney Journals
Five of my completed journals over the years, not in complete order.

As a writer, I believe journal writing has vastly improved my life. It’s allowed me to keep writing, even during moments when I don’t feel like it. It’s also allowed me to continue expressing myself in whatever way I see fit as well as makes me feel like I’m accomplishing a lot even when that really isn’t the case. I know it’s something I’m going to continue doing in the years to come, and I can’t wait to see how many more journals’ pages I’ll fill.

What about you? Do any of you write in a journal? Leave in the comments below your own experiences with journal writing and whether you feel like its benefited you in anyway.

 

Book Review: All the Rage

All the Rage Book Cover

Rating: 2 stars

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community.

 Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

This book was a disappointment to me for so many reasons. But before I talk about why I didn’t enjoy this book like everyone else seems to, let me tell you two of the things I did like about it.

What I enjoyed about All the Rage is its realistic portrayal of rape and the culture surrounding it. For those who’ve unfortunately had this horrible experience, what Romy goes through is all too real. Especially what happens after, with the people she thought were her friends turning their back on her. These people are really cruel to her because of her accusations, which they believe to be untrue. It isn’t until the end of the story that any sort of truth is found, even though there’s still no justice for Romy. This is very realistic of our world with regards to rape culture because rape victims are never believed to be telling the truth. Even those closest to them think they are fabricating or believe the victim wanted the person who hurt them. In Romy’s case, this is apparent because before the rape, she really liked her rapist. So when he hurts her, her friends find it difficult to believe her.

Romy’s reaction to her traumatic experience is also very realistic. She feels like she can’t trust anyone in her small town because they’ve betrayed her. It doesn’t help that the accusations are against the sheriff’s son, which plays into diminishing Romy’s chance at getting any justice for what was done to her. But what I like is how real they show Romy’s trauma. She doesn’t hide any of it from the reader throughout. It’s very clear she needs help, that she now has mental health issues because of her trauma. You see this in the story from the way she applies lipstick and nail polish, as if they are her armor she can take with her out into the world. But she also uses them as a way to hide herself. She believes that if she keeps applying these products, she’ll look and be a different person. She won’t be the person who was raped, but someone else entirely. I like that this novel includes her trauma because mental illness is a topic that really needs to be talked about.

Now, what I didn’t like with All the Rage is the characters. While I appreciate Courtney Summers exploring mental illness and rape culture, I felt like she focused so much on that she didn’t create characters with any personality. Romy is the main character, but she has no character development at all during the story. During the whole book, she’s pretty much doom and gloom because she’s so busy building walls around herself that she doesn’t notice how concerned her Mom and Todd are about her. This can also be seen with her “relationship” with Leon, the only character in the book I like besides Romy’s parents and other coworkers. She’s so busy guarding herself around him that she blows any chance of happiness she could’ve had. And when she does act normal around him, she’s using him in order to be a completely different person. The rest of the characters in the story also have flat and boring personalities too because they don’t add anything to the story besides being more tormentors to Romy.

I also had a hard time feeling any sympathy for her because she kept creating more trouble for herself. This can be seen in the story when she and Penny are both missing at the same time, and they find her with no recollection of what happened. These moments keep happening throughout the story, almost like Summers wants to continuously make her character the victim. She continuously makes stupid decisions that get her in trouble, but add nothing to the overall story, which made this book that much harder to continue reading for me. The only characters in this story I feel any sympathy for are Leon and Penny. I feel sorry for Leon for having to put up with Romy while I feel sorry for Penny for sacrificing her life for Romy who I feel didn’t really deserve it.

I didn’t enjoy this book so much I stopped reading it altogether. I stopped reading because I honestly didn’t know if I wanted to find out how everything ended or not. I also stopped because of how confusing the storyline was written. One minute, the story would be in the present, then we’d be back in the past with no warning. I’d stop reading and when I’d come back, I’d be so confused because nothing is explained to us. I also stopped reading because I just couldn’t deal with Romy’s character, which I explain in the previous paragraph. But I came back because I hate leaving books unfinished, and figured I should see this one through to the end. And I wasn’t disappointed because the last half of the book was better than the beginning, though the ending was pretty much a flop.

I also hated that the main antagonist isn’t really a character in this book. Throughout the story, Romy mentions what happened to her, but the person who truly hurt her is never physically present in the book. Yes, you get introduced to his lovely father and friends, but you never meet or deal with him in any way. I think this is a terrible oversight on Summers’s part because people who are raped by someone they know have to deal with seeing that person after the rape happens.

The plot of All the Rage is also horribly written. I hated it because so much was going on along with Romy learning to recover from her trauma. I also just found most of it to be a little pointless too because it didn’t move the story forward, or make Romy come to terms with what happened to her. For example, that scene with the stranger near the end when she finds Penny’s car is completely ridiculous because it really doesn’t add anything to the story.

To be honest, I really wanted to enjoy reading All the Rage, but this book has so many issues for me that I couldn’t. I know a lot of people like this book, and while it did have some moments where I was interested in finding out what happened, there are just too many things with this story that made it hard for me to enjoy. I really badly wanted to feel for Romy and everything she was going through, but her character is too unsympathetic for me to even entertain the notion of pretending to feel that way. So while this book was a powerful read for a lot of people, I just don’t see what makes it so special.

 

 

 

 

I’ve Found My New Favorite Song: Listening to the Songs That Can Be Found in Our Heart

Piano Fall Image

I love listening to music because it’s a beautiful form of expression. A way to listen to lyrics that describe exactly how you’re feeling. Music’s beauty oftentimes can be hard to explain, which is why I’m finding myself struggling to put my love of music into words right now.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a beautiful song by accident. I’m currently working on a new playlist on Spotify to listen to. I’ve gone so far as to write songs down for this playlist on my notes app on my phone. Well, I finally made the decision to create this playlist on Spotify last night before going to bed. I was looking up artist’s songs when I stumbled upon this one song by one of the artists on my list. The song itself I’d never heard before, but its name intrigued me. So I made the decision to go on YouTube and listen to it.

The song completely blew me away. It spoke to me, almost like it was calling out to my heart. The lyrics especially rang true to me when I heard them for the first time:

                 “I let my soul fall into you.

                 I never thought I’d fall right through.

                I fell for every word you said.

                You made me feel I needed you,

                And forced my heart to think it’s true,

                But I found I’m powerless with you.

 

                Now I don’t need your wings to fly.

                No, I don’t need a hand to hold in mine this time.

                You held me down, but I broke free,

                I found the love inside of me.

                Now I don’t need a hero to survive,

                Cause I’ve already saved my life.

                Cause I’ve already saved my life.”

The lyrics resonated so strongly for me because I could relate to them. I’ve had so many experiences in life where those who I thought cared about me kept putting me down, made me believe I wouldn’t survive after they left me. They made me feel worthless, alone and completely lost. But after much needed thinking, I realized something important: I’ll never give up. As long as I’m living and breathing, I’ll continue to get back up again even during those moments where I feel I’ve been pushed too far I can’t come back. Because even though I’ve been through so much , and life can be so hard, you can always find a reason to live.

This song spoke to me not only because of the lyrics, but because of the music with it too. It starts off slow, then picks up in tempo as the lyrics begin. It’s also very happy, upbeat and hopeful, making it a powerful song to belt the lyrics to. But at the same time, it’s also mellow and calm, soothing like the waves of the ocean. You’ll also notice some instrumental elements in it too here and there, which give the song a nice touch. But together, these different musical elements create a powerful song that catches the attention of the person listening to it.

The song’s title is what first drew me to it. When people hear the word hero, they think of someone who they feel saves them in their life. It’s normally associated with people who do extraordinary things on a daily basis, such as firemen, police, doctors, etc. But it can also be a term used for a person you look up to, someone you admire. If you listen to the lyrics though, you already know that the song refers to yourself as your hero because you saved your own life, which I think can also be true. You are the one who’s writing every chapter of your life, therefore you are considered the hero in your own story. This is especially true for people who’ve had a rough life, but are always able to overcome their obstacles, which is exactly what this song is talking about. This is one of the things I love about this song because everyday people can be heroes too. Yes, you might not be saving lives every day, but if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

Christina Perri Image

I also love this song because Christina Perri (the artist pictured above) is an amazing singer. She’s one of my favorite artists because her voice comes out so clearly, and her lyrics are always beautiful. While she’s not the only one responsible for this song (this song is by Cash Cash, and features Christina Perri in it), I find her voice with the lyrics to be absolutely stunning. Her voice makes this song sound so real and personable that I can’t help listening to it over and over again.

I really love listening to this song so much that it’s become one of my favorite songs. It speaks to me in my heart and soul in ways other songs don’t. So if you get the chance, please listen to it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

If We Were Having Coffee: Feeling the Heat

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a good week. I know I definitely did, with my trip to the beach on Sunday, which I talked about on my last blog post. What I didn’t mention, however, about that trip is the amount of sunburn I received. I got burned pretty badly from our day at the beach. My back, waist and feet received the worst of it, resulting in me keeping things easy this week. Even now, I’m still dealing with some of my burns. Though, they aren’t as bad now as before. They just itch, which means the skin should be peeling off anytime now. But if you want to hear more about my trip (and not just about the sunburns), check out my post titled Weekend Oasis.  I promise you won’t be disappointed because I have a lot to say about the trip.

But that’s not all. If we were having coffee, I’d tell you not only did I go to the beach with my best friend, but I also helped her celebrate her birthday by going with her to the tattoo shop on Monday. There were a couple tattoos she wanted to get so her husband said he’d pay for them as a birthday present. So I went with her when she received her very first tattoos, which both turned out really great. Her first tattoo said “just breathe,” and had the Hakuna Mottata symbol in-between those words, and her second tattoo is a semicolon. It was quite an enjoyable experience. So much so I’m actually considering getting tattoos of my own. I have a pretty good idea of what I want. But I’m not going to say. I’ll save that for when I get them so I can explain why. It was an experience I know I’ll never forget, since my best friend invited me to go with her.

Sunday’s trip to the beach and Monday’s tattoo adventure were the most exciting things that’ve happened recently. Because I didn’t do much else while at home. I mostly worked on letting my sunburns heal, using aloe vera to start the process. Oh, I also continued watching American Horror Story. I’ve finished season three now, have moved onto season four, which is really good too. Though there are times where I’m debating whether I want to continue watching or not. Not because I’m not enjoying it, but because of how weird the show can get. It’s not really a scary show, though there are elements of horror in it that make you want to continue watching to see what happens. But I don’t know, I’ve already invested a lot of time into watching it.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you I’ve made some good progress on the coloring book page I’ve been working on. I’m really excited about it because I think it’s really looking nice. I’m excited to see how the whole thing will look by the time I’m done with it. I’ve also been playing Kingdom Hearts Unchained X again on my tablet and Temple Run on my phone. Both games are fun to play, one is nice for killing monsters and unlocking more storyline while the other is enjoyable because you get to go fast and collect coins to unlock more characters and abilities.

Other than that, there really isn’t that much for me to say. I did some job applications most of the day, and Mum and I rented Manchester By the Sea, which was a total bust. The movie focuses on a man named Leo whose brother recently passed away and is left dealing with the aftermath. He’s depressed due to the death of his children in a house fire he feels fully responsible for. The reason this movie is a bust is because it drags on. There’s no reason or purpose for some of the events that follow, and the characters are not likeable due to lack of character development. The only thing I like about Manchester By the Sea is the setting, which the directors of the film do a good job at showing off. It’s a beautiful location for the movie, and I wish I could see more of it. Otherwise, the whole movie is completely depressing, and I found myself wishing we never watched it.

Next Saturday, I’ll be doing the Great Strides walk with Erin, and I may not do one of these posts, depending on how I feel. I hope you’re all having a good weekend. Can’t wait to talk to you next time!

Weekend Oasis 

There’s a very good reason why I didn’t make a #weekendcoffeeshare post this past weekend. It’s because this past weekend (well technically Monday) was my best friend’s birthday. She had a party Saturday night then I went to the beach with her and another friend Sunday. 

These beach plans were made days before the party when Erin told us she wanted to do a girl’s night on Sunday. It turned from being a girl’s night to going to the beach because a friend asked Erin if she wanted to go to the lake or the beach. Erin really loves the beach (as do I) so it became clear when that question was asked what we were going to do. 

But before talking about the beach trip and showing off all the nice pictures I took, let’s briefly talk about the party on Saturday. It was a lot of fun. Erin decided to give the party a black and gold theme so I wore a black shirt along with some golden earrings, shoes and a wristlet my aunt gave to me for Christmas. We all sat around, talked and drank. I made sure not to get too buzzed because of making plans to go to the beach with Erin and another friend on Sunday. I knew it wouldn’t be fun going to the beach with a hangover so I just drank fruity drinks with a 5 percent alcoholic volume and took baby sips of Fireball and a Moonshine a friend and I bought as Erin’s birthday present. When the party finally quieted down, I attempted sleep because I was pretty tired, and knew we were getting up early for our trip to the beach.

But sleep was hard to come due to my excitement for our day at the beach. I was really excited about this trip. I love the beach a lot, and I normally go to the beach with family, not friends. I’ve never actually done something like this before, gone on a full day trip with friends. And we were going to the beach of all places, one of my favorite places to go to when the weather is nice. So sleep was hard to come by for me that night, even knowing I’d be getting up at a time that doesn’t agree with me at all.

But Sunday was perfect. Despite the time I went to bed, I didn’t feel worn out because I was too excited about this trip to care. Erin and I left for the beach, following Karie in her sister’s car who she was taking to her parent’s house along the way to our destination. While driving, Erin turned up her music, and we belted the lyrics to the songs that came on and talked until we arrived at Karie’s parents home. We used that time to take a potty break before Karie drove us the rest of the way to Isle of Palms. 

Once there, we grabbed our stuff out of the car and walked to the beach. We found a spot to place our belongings and began the process of unpacking our things. I then applied some sunscreen (not that it really helped, which I’ll talk about later) before lying down on the beach.

In that moment as I laid down and closed my eyes, a sense of peace washed over me. I could hear all the sounds of the ocean surrounding me, from the sounds of the waves crashing along the shore to the birds flying above, calling each other in birdsong. I felt the wind brushing up and down my body and smelled the salty air of sand and sea as I laid there and let the sun wash over me. I felt a sense of tranquility hard to describe in words, but that I knew would encompass this moment I was on the beach in my heart. I knew this moment would eventually pass, but I just allowed myself time to enjoy it. 

After a little bit of lying down, we went in the water to cool down and let the waves wash over us. We went a little far out, but I didn’t go quite as far because my bottoms wanting to fall off me. It was as if they wanted to expose my butt to the rest of the world, which sounds pretty comical when you think about it. But I stayed in the water anyway, and adjusted my bikini bottom straps in the hope that my bottoms would stay on me. Though there were a couple close calls in that moment so I eventually got out of the water and went back to our spot on the beach. Karie and Erin both got out of the water shortly after to dry off before we went walking on the beach to search for some seashells. 

It was nice to walk along the beach together, looking along the ground for shells. We stuck together, watching our footprints in the sand, and observing the carcasses of the dead jellyfish and crabs we saw along the way. I saw some nice shells on our path, but didn’t take too many because I didn’t really have a safe place to put them for the trip back. My favorite shell actually broke into three pieces, so I had to throw it away when I got home, which was a bummer.
My picture of the seashells I got at the beach Sunday. Decided to put them on my bookshelf in my room because I knew they’d look nice there.

We eventually headed back to our spot on the beach when we got tired of walking. We also were starting to get hungry so we used this moment to grab some food before continuing to enjoy our time on the beach. I ate a double cheeseburger with fries and Coke, which tasted delicious, though the fries would’ve tasted better if they had Ketchup. Once we were done with our food, we headed back to enjoy what little time we had left. Once again, we laid down on the beach to get more sun, then went in the water one last time. The water didn’t feel quite as cold as when we went in earlier, which was nice. 

Moments later, we got out of the water and went back to our stuff. I quickly dried myself off before packing everything together and headed back to Karie’s car. We put our stuff in her trunk and covered the seats we’d be sitting on in her car with towels. But we didn’t leave right away because we decided to explore some of the shops near the beach, and then grab some ice cream before heading home. It was apparent we all were enjoying our time at the beach, and didn’t want to leave because we took our time in the shops, looking at all the stuff they had and commenting on items we thought were cute or were possibly interested in buying. All three of us ended up buying something at the very last store we went into. I bought myself this really pretty green/emerald colored necklace that caught my attention with its beauty. It was also very inexpensive, something I could easily afford with the money I had on me. 

Once we were done buying our purchases, we went searching for somewhere to get ourselves some ice cream. We ended up driving to Sonic because the places we originally wanted to go to were either too expensive or out of business and bought milkshakes. Then, we headed home in silence because we were all tired by this point. 

It was quite an enjoyable trip. One of the best trips I’ve had in my life, a moment in time with friends I know I’ll hold in my memories for the rest of my life. Probably one of the best trips I’ve taken to the beach and that I know I’ll never forget. 

The only downside from this trip I’ve experienced is that I badly gotten sunburned. Everywhere except for my arms, shoulders, and the parts of my body covered by my bikini have been stung by the sun’s rays. It’s to the point where I’ve been putting on sunburn relief in the hopes of getting the burns to slowly fade away. Hopefully, I can get these burns to go away so my body doesn’t ache every time I move. But right now, we’ll just have to wait and see. 

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